13 January, 2022, BEIJING – The Beijing Winter Olympics Committee released a “Beijing Winter Olympics Sustainability Development Report (pre-game report),” presenting the current state of sustainable development work surrounding the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics. 

When the Winter Olympics was initially awarded to Beijing and Zhangjiakou in 2015, Greenpeace East Asia’s Beijing office made a preliminary analysis of the games to promote a focus on green and low-carbon methods for any developments related to the games in hopes of creating lasting benefits for sustainability. At the time, Greenpeace East Asia recommended that the two cities use the Winter Olympics as an impetus for green and low-carbon development with a focus on improving air quality, employing renewable energy systems, enhancing sustainable water management, and protecting local biodiversity.

The latest 2021 data shows that the concentration of PM 2.5 and other pollutants in Beijing has met national air quality standards for the first time, marking a milestone to China’s “war against air pollution.” Ultimately, the flexible redistribution of electricity generated by wind and solar energy in Zhangjiakou enabled Winter Olympic venues to use 100% renewable energy for regular electricity consumption thanks to ultra-high voltage grid tech and the green electricity trading mechanism. Along with advances in transportation, sustainability has been regularly highlighted in the game’s promotion, and originated from years of continued, incremental progress in the energy transition and environmental protection.

Blue skies are increasingly a long term reality across the region, and not just a special occasion. Low-carbon and flexible energy systems, green tech, and green jobs for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region were all created in preparation for the Olympics and should become lasting benefits. These achievements are possible because of improvements on environmental protection and the ongoing energy transition over the last decade.  

In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, efforts to work towards carbon neutrality still face many challenges. Greenpeace East Asia demands that the whole region continue to benefit from the same promotion and commitment to green development that has become a focal point for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. 

There has been a particular focus on the use of artificial snow’s intensive consumption of water and energy. The sustainability report reflects this and puts forward some model examples and new considerations on this issue, which have potential implications for snowmaking operations around the world. 

Overall, the construction and operation of winter sports facilities should follow the most up-to-date standards for siting and construction as it relates to risks for the environment, ecology, climate change, and sustainable management. Core measures include: well-researched site selection and extensive environmental impact assessments, particularly for water and ecology; full application of renewable energy for sports facilities, including artificial snowmaking; sustainable water management; life cycle waste management and pollution control; and practical green options for visitors and consumers. 


Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)