Birmingham 2022 to deliver the first ever carbon-neutral Commonwealth Games

15th Mar 2021

With just under 500 days to go until the start of Birmingham 2022, organisers have unveiled plans to deliver the first ever carbon-neutral Commonwealth Games.

Outlined in its newly published sustainability pledge, Birmingham 2022 has laid clear a series of commitments and the steps it will take with the aim of achieving this milestone, as well as other operational workstreams that will help it become the most sustainable Commonwealth Games to date.

A critical part of this commitment is the forming of a new partnership with Severn Trent. Becoming Birmingham 2022’s Official Nature & Carbon Neutral Supporter, Severn Trent will be responsible for delivering a series of initiatives that help offset the carbon generated by the Commonwealth Games and hopes to leave a positive social and environmental legacy of sustainability in the West Midlands.

Two of the standout initiatives that Severn Trent will be delivering on behalf of Birmingham 2022 include the creation of 2022 acres of forest, as well as 72 tennis-court-sized mini forests, to be built in urban areas across the West Midlands. Each mini forest will be linked to one of the nations and territories competing at the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The 2022 acres of forest, intended to be based in the West Midlands, will feature native species, and will not only help local people reconnect with nature, but will also help offset the carbon generated by the Games.

Improving the natural environment has a positive impact on natural water sources, which is why alongside already pledging to be a net zero carbon organisation by 2030, Severn Trent has committed to planting 1.3 million new trees and enhancing 5,000 hectares of biodiversity as part of its existing Great Big Nature Boost initiative.

Commenting on the news, Commonwealth Games Wales’ CEO Chris Jenkins said:

“As we mark 500 days until the Games returns, this is a hugely exciting time once again for Birmingham and an iconic milestone for the UK, as the team aims to deliver the first carbon-neutral Games. We are proud to be part of this moment in history and help set a benchmark for Games’ standards in future.”

“We look forward to hearing more about the progress over the coming months and working closely with our Commonwealth nations to ensure that we leave a positive legacy for others to lead by in future.”

Ian Reid, Chief Executive of Birmingham 2022 said:

“We have always had strong ambitions to set new standards in all we do with these Commonwealth Games and make significant progress in areas that matter. 

“Our plan not only outlines how we will continue to support the regionwide economic recovery, but also demonstrates how we will leave a credible piece of social and environmental legacy. 

“Our new partnership with Severn Trent is incredibly important to achieving these ambitions, and it sets a compelling benchmark for how we deliver on all aspects of sustainability over the next 18 months.  Our commitment to become the first carbon-neutral Games is a significant one, and this marks just the start of our journey to make these Commonwealth Games the most sustainable to date”. 

CGF President, Dame Louise Martin said:

“Birmingham 2022’s plan to stage the first ever carbon-neutral Commonwealth Games is an historic moment for Commonwealth Sport. It reinforces our commitment to ensure that the Games leaves a positive social and environmental legacy for generations to come.

“The creation of 2022 acres of forest, as well as 72 new urban forests in the West Midlands, is an inspired initiative that will provide numerous benefits for the local community.

“This will set a long-term blueprint for future Commonwealth Games that will make our event a global leader when it comes to staging sustainable, environmentally-sound sporting competition. I would like to give special recognition to our excellent team at CGF Partnerships (CGFP) in securing Birmingham 2022’s Official Nature & Carbon Neutral Supporter.  Severn Trent is the perfect partner to help us deliver a carbon neutral legacy and we are delighted to be working with them.”

The plans come just a few months before the UK hosts the COP26 summit in Glasgow, host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

In addition to the ambition on carbon, and further detailed in its newly published sustainability pledge Birmingham 2022 lays clear the seven key pillars it will work on to become the most sustainable Commonwealth Games to date, including:

  • Addressing carbon and air quality
  • Promoting a circular economy (reducing and encouraging waste reduction)
  • Delivering new conservation initiatives
  • Setting new standards in accessibility
  • Embedding Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in all aspects of Games delivery
  • Promoting social value through all practices
  • Ensure human rights are at the heart of the Games

For more information on the Birmingham 2022 sustainability pledge, please visit www.birmingham2022.com/sustainability

The Birmingham 2022 sustainability pledge is intrinsically aligned to the Commonwealth Games Federations’ impact areas of peace, sustainability and prosperity as well as the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are clear and compelling, and task us all to work together to drive positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes by 2030.