August 5, 2016, marked the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. This is the first time that a country in South America has ever hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In an effort to learn from the experiences of previous host cities, the Rio Olympics Committee has given strategic focus to the potential social, economic and environmental impact of the Olympics through the creation of the Sustainability, Accessibility and Legacy Team (SAL). During the spring 2016 semester, SAL worked with a team of students, Abir Joshi, Ariel Williams, Jennifer Arias, Jayant Narayan, Mitsushiro Hirai, Supharin Chatthaworn, Shiza Pasha, under the guidance of Professor Kevin Kelly in a SIPA Capstone workshop to assist with analyzing and benchmarking their sustainability efforts.
SAL has a unique opportunity to promote sustainability for the Olympic Games with visible impacts across the pillars of People, Planet and Prosperity. Over the course of the 2016 Olympics, SAL has identified 230 projects to create actionable items and results for promoting supply chain sustainability, as well as unique projects in education and sustainable tourism. These projects and experiences have helped create transferable assets, such as databases, manuals and frameworks, that can be adapted and utilized by entities across the public and private domains far beyond the Olympics.
The SIPA Capstone team worked with SAL to analyze the effectiveness of incorporating sustainability into the Olympic Games, which includes evaluating SAL’s supply chain procurement process, educational programs and tourism initiatives, and then provided recommendations on the strategic transfer plan to disseminate SAL’s sustainability practices for future use by key stakeholders. The Capstone project and work of the Sustainability, Accessibility and Legacy Team will have far reaching benefits not only within Brazil regarding sustainable supply chain practices but also, through the experience of analyzing supply chains from the sustainability lens, presents an exemplary benchmark for global sustainable practices for future dissemination.