The gold medals at Rio 2016 might contain a drop of FairTrade gold, as part of Solidaridad’s (working towards sustainability) ‘On Our Way to Good Gold’ campaign, which promotes the compliance of artisanal and small-scale mining groups with the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards.
Four years on from London 2012, public debate about its legacy is taking off again. Are fair gold medals the sort of initiative for which its efforts to raise the bar on sustainability can claim any credit? Not directly: Solidaridad, the European Youth Olympic Festival and the city of Utrecht were working to improve the social and environmental impact of the sporting landscape long before 2012.
There were disappointments in London – notably the scrapping of a 130-foot wind turbine in 2010, which robbed the Olympic park of a highly visible symbol of sustainable energy. The environmental credentials of some of the sponsors were also questioned.
LOCOG fell short of its target to recycle 70% of the waste arising from Olympic venues (managing around 62%).
The ambassadors for Solidaridad’s campaign, is calling for the gold destined for the medals at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be mined in a fair and responsible way. If their campaign is successful, the sustainable procurement standards pioneered at the London 2012 Games might just have played a vital role.