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5 ways that Sweden will deliver the most sustainable Games ever

Just five days remain until the IOC members cast the decisive vote on who out of Sweden and Italy should host the 2026 Winter Games – and Stockholm Åre 2026’s vision is for Sweden’s first ever Winter Games – and all future Games – to contribute to a stronger, better and more sustainable world. This vision is underpinned by Sweden’s proven track record in environmental performance, sustainability and green living.

With the Swedish proposal pledging to deliver the ‘most sustainable Games in history’, here are five ways that Stockholm Åre 2026 plans to hit that ambitious target.

1. A bid in line with Agenda 2020 and the Olympic Movement’s future

The IOC’s Agenda 2020 is a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement – and the Stockholm Åre 2026 campaign is built entirely in step with this framework.

Promoting a ‘use what you have, where you have it’ philosophy, Agenda 2020 encourages candidates to be creative and flexible in their approach to the Games – avoiding building new facilities where already-existing ones are available.

Over 90% of the arenas needed for Stockholm Åre 2026 are already built – and Sweden’s world-class winter sport facilities see the nation boasting a packed elite sporting calendar over the next few years, including the Para Snowsports World Championships in 2023 and the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2025.

2. An expert Sustainability Council to develop shared solutions

Stockholm Åre 2026 will convene a Sustainability Council comprised of independent experts, stakeholders, academics, community groups, NGOs and private sector representatives to guide sustainability innovation.

This council will enable Stockholm Åre 2026 – and the Olympic Movement – to make a far bigger impact in terms of sustainability, stretching way beyond sport.

Sweden is already a world-leader in sustainability – and has among the most ambitious climate targets on the planet, aiming to cut emissions by 70% by 2030 and reach full climate neutrality by 2045.

That national culture of sustainability was in evidence on the slopes of Åre earlier this year, when the town hosted the first ever fossil fuel-free FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – a small taste of what could be achieved with the 2026 Winter Games.

3. Driving innovation and green technology

In Sweden, renewable energy sources represent over 50% of energy used nation-wide. This is mainly due to energy from hydroelectric, biofuel, and wind power. Including nuclear power, Sweden’s energy sources are 98% fossil-fuel free. On a national level public transport by bus, tram and metro is over 90% fossil-fuel free.

Aside from being a Winter Wonderland, and its love of nature, Sweden is famous for innovation and technology. Stockholm Åre 2026 will be an ultra-low carbon event built around green tech and clean energy.

The Winter Games will make maximum use of emerging technologies in green building and overlay materials, and in low-carbon and electric vehicles, integrating new innovations as they become available in Sweden’s world-leading sustainability economy.

4. The strictest carbon compensation measures in Olympic history

Sweden has long been a pioneer in the fight against climate change, for example by being the first country to establish an environmental

protection agency over 50 years ago. In this spirit, Stockholm Åre 2026 has set a target of 0% waste and 100% reuse or recycling across the life of the Organising Committee.

For example, any flights the Organising Committee charters between Games venues in Stockholm, Åre and Riga will be double compensated at gold standard level for greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring the use of predominantly existing facilities yields maximum benefit.

Overall, any unavoidable CO2 emissions will be offset by a minimum of 115%. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions will be calculated using the GHG protocol – the world’s most widely used standard.

5. A drive to set a new standard – the first ever climate-positive Games

We are facing a climate emergency – and being climate-neutral is not enough. That’s why Stockholm Åre 2026 is committed to delivering the first ever climate-positive Games.

Our nation’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals allied to our bid’s commitment to Olympic Agenda 2020 means Sweden’s first ever Winter Games will set new sustainability standards.

“Sweden and the Olympic Movement can be the perfect partners in achieving this bold objective,” says Stockholm Åre 2026 CEO Richard Brisius.

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