It’s the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics but instead of having a worldwide audience pumped for the actual athletic competitions — the focus for the $1.5bn budget games in Russia has been on everything from fears of terrorism, serious homophobia and environmental damage for what was supposed to be the greenest Olympics ever.

But here at BizEnergy, we won’t even go into the politics surrounding these games (or how the notorious fauxmosexual pop duo tATu is headlining at the opening ceremony which is controversial for so many reasons but especially because of the recently-introduced laws in Russia banning the promotion of homosexuality) — we’ll just stick to their questionable shades of green.

Though Sochi organizers claim that the 2014 Olympics will be the first carbon neutral Olympics ever, environmental skeptics are still unimpressed with what they’ve done. With a big platform, a huge budget and great opportunity to advance sustainability, Sochi dropped the ball.

There have been environmental issues being reported for months

News broke back in October that Russia had broken their zero-waste pledge.  The Associated Press reported findings of construction dumping in an unlicensed landfill outside of Sochi where industrial waste is actually banned.

“The finding shows how little Russia has done to fulfill its ambitious green pledges,” reports AP, “It’s $51 billion budget for the Olympics contains no provisions for treating construction waste.”

Local folks were pretty angry. Environmental activists made reports about being harassed by officials and there were claims made about environmental damage to one of the country’s most ecologically valuable areas. reported how Sochi organizers have failed on their green promises when they said they were creating environmental strategies that would allow the games to be “in harmony with nature.”

Parts of the national park, which was home to wildlife and nature, have been destroyed in efforts to serve the big event. The construction process has been said to be super damaging for one of Russia’s most valuable regions.

There were sustainability opportunities…

But neither the organizers nor the sponsors really went for them. Instead of battling climate change or promoting sustainability, the Winter Olympics focused on other things.

According to The Guardian, aside from Dow Chemical, GE and turbine power (who is offering two high efficiency gas turbines), the sponsors haven’t been big on the sustainability initiatives. At all.

Back in 2009, Sochi seemed so ambitious with their energy efficiency initiatives when planning for these 2014 games (see here).

The thing is climate change has affected winter sports. Remember when Vancouver had to bring in stored snow? Well, don’t worry — Sochi has also hoarded snow in case — and, if necessary, will be busting out energy-intensive snow-making machines.

While renewable energy sources were in the plan — there’s been very little evidence that shows they actually followed through on them.

If you would like to see how your business is doing with energy efficiency, try our free interactive Energy Audit.


Image credit: International Olympic Committee