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Major sporting event impact and legacy


At the heart of sustainability is the goal of “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 1

Sustainable practice, including for major sporting events, focuses on supporting the health and vitality of the environment, people, the community, and the economy. Finite resources need to be used wisely with a view to long-term conservation, priorities, and consequences. 2

Facilities and infrastructure

Facilities and infrastructure should be planned, designed, constructed, and operated to optimise social, economic, environmental and governance outcomes across their entire lifecycle.


Environmental sustainability outcomes have become key factors in event bidding and management, working to mitigate both short and long-term impacts from events, facilities and infrastructure.

Human rights

Ethical events comply fully with human rights principles and practices as proposed by the United Nations (UN) in the 2011 Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Event examples

  1. Our common future (the Brundtland Commission report), World Commission on Environment and Development, United Nations, (1987).
  2. Sustainability is the balance between the environment, equity, and economy, UCLA Sustainability, (accessed 30 January 2023).
  3. Value of Community Sport Infrastructure, KPMG for the Australian Sports Commission, (2018).
  4. Game on Delivering sustained infrastructure outcomes through major sports and cultural events, PricewaterhouseCoopers, (2022).
  5. Sustainability principles: Infrastructure Australia’s approach to sustainability, Australian Government, Infrastructure Australia, (April 2021).
  6. IOC aiming to avoid "white elephants" with call for no new Olympic venues, Geoff Berkeley, Inside the Games, (2 June 2022).
  7. Building for the community is a win for the Gold Coast Games, Karine Dupré, The Conversation, (6 April 2018).
  8. Planning for a Sustainable Future The legacy of sporting venues following major events, KPMG, (2015).
  9. Game on: mega-event infrastructure opportunities, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, (2011).
  10. What is Universal Design,, (accessed 20 January 2023).
  11. Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2019-2022, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, (2019).
  12. Study on the environmental and socio-economic impact of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™, Utopies for Local Organising Committee and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), (February 2020: Translation: March 2021).
  13. Predicting climate impacts to the Olympic Games and FIFA Men’s World Cups from 2022 to 2032, Walker Ross, Madeleine Orr, Sport in Society, Volume 25(4), pp.867-888, (2022).
  14. The Future of Australian Sport: The second report: Megatrends shaping the sport sector over coming decades, Australian Sports Commission and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), (December2022).
  15. Existential threats to the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games? a review of emerging environmental health risks, Michael Annear, Tetsuhiro Kidokoro, Yasuo Shimizu, Reviews on Environmental Health, Volume 36(2), (January 2021).
  16. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, United Nations, (2011).
  17. The right to adequate housing: evictions of the homeless and the elderly caused by the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Naofumi Suzuki, Tetsuo Ogawa, Nanako Inaba, Leisure Studies, Volume 37(1), pp.59-96, (2018).
  18. Approach to Human Rights and Post-Games report, Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games, (August 2018).
  19. Approach to human rights, Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, (December 2013).
  20. Approach to human rights: post games update, Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, (2014).
  21. Tapping the potential of human rights provisions in mega-sporting events’ bidding and hosting agreements, Daniela Heerdt, International Sports Law Journal, Volume 17, pp.170-185, (2018).
  22. The making of the IOC environmental policy as the third dimension of the Olympic movement, Hart Cantelon, Michael Letters, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Volume 35(3), (June 2016).
  23. Lillehammer 1994 set the stage for sustainable Games legacies, International Olympic Committee, (2014).
  24. Making a Difference, Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, Post-Games Report, (March 2013).
  25. Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Sustainability Plan, Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, (2016).
  26. Brisbane's 2032 'climate-positive' Olympics commitment sets high bar on delivering sustainable legacy. Ashleigh Stevenson and Brittney Kleyn, ABC News, (8 November 2021).
  27. About, Commonwealth Games Federation, (accessed 1 February 2023).
  28. Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games Post-Games Report, Commonwealth Games Federation, (2014).
  29. Post-Games Sustainability Report, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, (August 2018).
  30. Legacy and sustainable policy, Paris 2024, (June 2022).
  31. Sustainability, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, (accessed 3 February 2023).

Last updated: 06 February 2023
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