To curb the polluting effects and lower the carbon emissions of its biannual sports event, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to plant a forest across Mali and Senegal.
“Addressing climate change is one of the IOC’s top priorities, and we are fully committed to reducing our emissions in line with the Paris Agreement,” says Thomas Bach, president of the IOC. “The Olympic Forest will support communities in Mali and Senegal by increasing their climate resilience, food security and income opportunities, and will help the IOC become climate positive already by 2024. The Olympic Movement is about building a better world through sport, and the Olympic Forest is an example of that.”
The IOC partnered with Tree Aid to plant 355,000 native trees over 2,120 hectares in Mali and Senegal. This project is part of the organization’s climate-positive strategy, which plans to reduce its emissions by 30% by 2024 and by 45% by 2030. Plus, this forest comes within the scope of the Great Green Wall initiative aimed at reforesting the Sahel region in Africa. IOC’s reforestation will contribute to sequestering up to 200,000 tons of CO2, adding greenery, increasing food sources, and economic security thanks to agroforestry. Host cities make also efforts to be more sustainable. For example, for 2020 (now 2021) Summer Olympics, Tokyo has built solar roads meant to absorb solar energy, thus generating clean energy for local businesses.