Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics

The 2016 Olympics and Paralympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, the second most populated city in Brazil and it inspired people around the world. In August, 206 countries competed with around 11,000 athletes, whilst an estimated 140,000 people were needed to host the games, with 90,000 employees and 50,000 volunteers. The equally incredible Paralympics is the world’s second largest major international multi-sport event, with 4,350 athletes from 176 nations, which was almost four times the amount of competitors in 2012!

The Olympic Legacy

The Olympics are huge scale events on a global platform, providing an opportune time to discuss sustainability initiatives in practice at such mega events. Although the Rio Olympics and Paralympics has been surrounded by various political, social and environmental issues, it has been an incredible opportunity to showcase Brazil to the world and there have been numerous positive outcomes to enrich the discussion around sustainability and provide examples for future events to follow. It is these positive impacts that we wanted to highlight and use to create a global discussion.


Why our Interest?

The Olympic and Paralympic Games is a unique demonstration of an event which brings people together to celebrate sport and, at the same time, promote peace and creating a world that works for everyone. As global leaders in the storytelling of sustainable events, throughout the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games Positive Impact collected, shared and commented on examples of best practice and learning, which will support the creation of a global sustainable event industry. We  encouraged people attending the event to share the best practice they saw by taking photographs and using hashtag #shareapositiveimpact and also gave our input through blogs and interviews with people who understand the sustainability of major events, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

How to get involved

Through out the Olympics, we encouraged attendees to share sustainability initiatives with us via our Share A Positive Impact Campaign. Whilst the Olympics may be over, our campaign is not, so share the examples of sustainability you see at events by using #shareapositiveimpact. The ongoing feed can be seen below:

Resources - 

Sustainability at Rio 2016

Rio 2016 'Embrace' proposal

Read here about Rio's proposal that outlines some of the initiatives taken to create a sustainable Olympics and Paralympic games.

Access reports here

Here's a link to an incredible amount of resources by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee upon Sustainability at the Olympics and Paralympic games.

Dow leaves a significant legacy of low-carbon technologies in Rio

The Dow Chemical Company is the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games and Official Carbon Partner of Rio 2016 and has done incredible work to reduce the carbon footprint of the games. 

WWF Brazil used the Olympics as a platform to promote improving the food sector in Brazil.

Read here about WWF's Brazil's initiative 'Rio Food Vision', who's mission is to “Unite the efforts by the various sectors of society in order to promote sustainable and healthy food supply for the participants in the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, leaving a significant legacy in terms of improving the food sector in Brazil.”

App promotes sustainable tourism at Rio

The app was created, in association with Cisco, to encourage social cohesion. It provided opportunities for the local economy and promoting sustainable tourism, through various initiatives and lessons.

London 2012

We learnt a lot from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics,  as it set a high precedence for sustainability at the games and influenced the creation of British Standard for Sustainable Event Management.

Click here to check out the resources we collected from London 2012 and find below some videos highlighting the various examples of sustainability at the Olympics


Positive Impact is a not for profit which exists to create a sustainable event industry by 2020. We do not receive any funding for this initiative, so if you would like to support us though sponsorship or purchasing education so we can deliver more informative programmes like this.