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Sustainable Procurement Program for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics steps into the Starting Gate

April 8, 2011

A busy Moscow street

I recently returned from my second trip to Moscow as part of Reeve Consulting’s work advising the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee on the design and development of an Environmental and Sustainable Procurement Program for the next winter Olympics.

Building on our experience as the lead consultant on the award-winning BuySmart Program for the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC), Reeve Consulting became engaged with the Sochi 2014 organizers in mid-2010. Following approval of the project by the Sochi Supervisory Board last summer, our work began in the fall, including a project scoping trip in late-November to define the design of policies, procedures, scorecards, metrics and implementation plans

We returned to Moscow in February to present the recommended green purchasing and sustainable sourcing program to key stakeholders in Procurement, Licensing, Sustainability, Environment and Planning departments. I also met with key Functional Areas across the Organizing Committee to identify high priority environmental and sustainable purchases. These include the opening and closing ceremony costumes, victory bouquets, gifts, Olympic medals, as well as more functional items like office supplies, paper, temporary power generators, waste and food contracts.

Implementation Strategy

There are 3 key elements in the Sochi 2014 implementation strategy:

Flip chart sheet featuring elements of the process design

1. Applying tools and supplier scorecards to RFP documents to reward environmental and sustainable innovations from suppliers. Organizers will continue to use selection criteria such as price, quality and service when choosing vendors through a competitive bid process, but now there is a formal and systematic way for sustainability to be factored into supplier selection; a potential “tipping point” in which suppliers secure contracts.

2. Targeting “high profile” procurements and working directly with key Functional Areas and the official supplier community to maximize sustainability benefits. Examples of such opportunities include food and catering services that use local food, subcontracting opportunities for local businesses in cleaning, recycling, FSC paper products and printing services, legacy recycling and waste collection containers and more.

If supplier scorecards and sustainability specifications in RFP documents (element #1 above) are like “procurement fishing nets”, then Sochi can expect to catch lots of salmon through its procurement processes. But some fish are too big for the nets: healthy local food, compostable dinnerware, medals, official gifts, vehicles, temporary power. These are the really Big Tuna’s, and these are the procurements that are on the high profile watch list (element #2). These key opportunities need to be tracked individually to ensure they are landed.

3. Introducing a social compliance program for licensees. During my trip the key executives endorsed a social compliance program for licensed merchandise, including policies prohibiting forced and child labor for all merchandise displaying the Olympic mark. Further, the project stakeholders reviewed a draft Licensee Code of Conduct and compliance procedure for current and future licensees. By introducing requirements for factory audits and ensuring licensees are meeting ethical and environmental standards, the Sochi 2014 organizers have initiated a program very similar to VANOC’s Buy Smart program.

3 Years and Counting

I experienced classic winter in Moscow

Just like our first trip the days were long, the work was challenging, and I continued to be impressed by the dedication, professionalism and passion of the Sochi 2014 staff.

Our recent February trip also marked a number of significant Olympic milestones, including the start of the three-year countdown to the opening ceremonies and the beginning of test events in some of the recently completed competition venues

Three years may seem like a long time – but in fact, for the Organizing Committee, the planning and project definition phase is very nearly complete. Procurement activity will greatly increase in the next 12 months. The team of Licensees will be filled and production of branded merchandise will begin to significantly ramp up. Now is the time for the Sochi Buy Smart project to leverage the brand, economic, and green benefits associated with environmental purchasing and sustainable sourcing.

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