Environmentalists shine spotlight on use of ‘good wood’ in 2010 Olympic venues

Press release - February 12, 2008
Exactly two years before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a new spotlight is being shone on the Games’ environmental footprint. The website, GoodWoodWatch.ca, was launched today to ensure environmentally and socially responsible Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood is included in venue construction. The website will track the use of ‘good wood’ in Olympic venues in the coming months. In its bid to hold the Games, Vancouver 2010 committed that new buildings and infrastructure required for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games will be a showcase of the best in green building design and construction techniques.

The coalition of environmental groups behind the website is calling on Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) and all Olympic venues to use FSC-certified wood in their building construction.  The FSC is an internationally recognized standard for environmental and socially responsible management of forests. For over two years, environmental groups have been in contact with VANOC, regional municipalities and venue architects to educate and advocate for the use of wood from responsibly managed forests with mixed results.

"Will VANOC get a gold medal for sustainability? The coming months of construction will lay the foundation for the Games' environmental record,"  said Stephanie Goodwin of Greenpeace.  "The world is watching and the time to use FSC-certified wood in the Olympic venues is now."

The launch of GoodWoodWatch.ca marks the beginning of a survey of FSC wood use in Olympic venues. The results, to be released in the coming months, will give Canadians and the international community a way to assess the footprint of the Vancouver Olympic Games on the world's forests.

"The Canadian public deserves to know the environmental footprint its Olympics are making on the forests of British Columbia," said Andrea Hilland of West Coast Environmental Law.  "This website is a way to reward the leaders and expose the laggards, in Olympic fashion."

More than ninety million hectares of forest are FSC-certified, with the largest forest area here in Canada. Forest Stewardship Council Certification is currently the only way to guarantee that wood, paper and other forest products come from sustainably managed forests.

More information on the FSC can be found at www.fsc.org. Media and public can check GoodWoodWatch.ca for survey results in the near future.

For more information, contact:

Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace 604-761-6722

Andrea Hilland, West Coast Environmental Law 604-601-2501

Lisa Matthaus, Sierra Club BC 250-888-6267

John Bergenske, Wildsight 250-427-9325