Olympians Go Green

The Save a Barrel of Water programme reinforces water conservation habits by encouraging pupils to water flowers with recycled water
The Save a Barrel of Water programme reinforces water conservation habits by encouraging pupils to water flowers with recycled water

THE Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is in full swing and The Coca-Cola Company is taking the opportunity to help raise global awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship while all eyes are on the world’s greatest athletes.

The company has provided every 2008 Olympian, Paralympian and attending staff with innovative apparel made from a blend of cotton and recycled polyethelene terepthalate (PET).

Approximately 15,000 athletes, coaches and team officials are participating in the Olympic Games (Aug 8-24). In addition, there are visors for the 7,000 athletes and coaches who will take part in the Paralympic Games (Sept 6-17).

The front of the T-shirts and bill of the visors include the “I’m from Earth” proclamation, signifying both a conscious effort to conserve the planet’s resources and a message of unity as the world comes together for its greatest sporting events.

All the company’s staff working at the Olympic Games sport shirts, lanyards and hats made with recycled PET.

The recycling effort used more than 85,000 plastic bottles. That figure jumps to more than 200,000 plastic bottles — weighing roughly six tonnes — reclaimed when the production of apparel for the staff is considered.

In addition, the firm fabricated the special items using Chinese manufacturers.

“(This) is our collective effort to redesign the way we work and live, the products we make and how we make them, and the impact we can have on the world, to make a difference,” said David G. Brooks, General Manager, 2008 Olympic Project Group, Coca-Cola (China) Beverages Ltd.

Within the 2008 Olympic Village, Coca-Cola’s Village Green Pin Trading Centre is inviting Olympians to make a pledge to support Team Earth by recycling and learning more about what they can do to contribute to sustainable communities.

The company is hosting a Environmental Champion Speaker Series featuring noted environmental thought leaders, such as three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman, a journalist with The New York Times and author of The World is Flat.

Also scheduled to speak are Russian biological scientist and TV host Nikolay Drozdov, global explorer and environmentalist Douglas Stoup and officials from the global conservation organisation WWF (formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund), Nature Conservancy, Jane Goodall Institute, CARE, Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) and International Olympic Committee.

These events represent the latest in a multi-year series of environmental programmes by the company for the 2008 Olympic Games.

It partnered with BOCOG, Beijing Youth League, Beijing Young Pioneers and The First newspaper in an environmental education campaign called Save a Barrel of Water.

The programme reinforces water conservation habits by encouraging students to water flowers with recycled or saved freshwater. By the end of the year, the expanded project will have reached more than 800,000 individuals across 22 cities.

In March, Coca-Cola helped launch a public-private partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Commerce to support government efforts to improve water resource management and drinking water safety for communities throughout China.

A special component of the programme is the Water and Sanitation for Schools initiative. Phase one began in May, with pilot programmes providing water access, hygiene education and improved sanitation (toilet and hand-washing facilities) in rural schools in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

During the Olympic Games, Coca-Cola Drops of Hope lapel pins will offer an opportunity to support the initiative and help people receive clean drinking water. For each pin sold, 5RMB (approximately RM2.50) will be donated to the programme.

Through a partnership with BOCOG and Beijing Municipal Administration Commission, all PET bottles from the Beijing venues are recycled for reuse.

The company also is promoting recycling at the Games with signage on catering uniforms and beverage displays in all Olympic venues, plus recycling bins in all Coca-Cola operated venues.

To support the Beijing government’s efforts to improve air quality in the city, all of the company’s delivery vehicles operating in Olympic venues are electric or human powered.

With the support of Greenpeace, the company said that 100 per cent of the coolers and vending machines provided for the Olympic Games — more than 5,600 eKOfresh units — feature an HFC-free natural refrigerant and proprietary technology that improves energy efficiency by up to 35 per cent.

For more details, visit http://www.environment.coca-cola.com — By YAQIN CHING ABDULLAH

 

New Straits Times

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