How the Commonwealth Games 2022 will build a carbon-neutral legacy

There are many reasons why we're proud to be sponsors of the 2022 Commonwealth Games: not only is it an important display of unity and community with an expected audience of around 1.5 billion people, this year’s Games has put climate and social issues at the forefront of their agenda.

From pledging to provide more accessible venues and facilities to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion throughout, Birmingham 2022 understands what’s important to communities.

But they also have their eyes set on the bigger picture. Addressing an issue that faces people across the globe, the Commonwealth Games 2022 will be the first of its kind when it comes to sustainability, aiming to create a carbon-neutral legacy that will inspire present and future generations.

Curious about what this all means, and how big ambitions will be made reality? We’ve explained how the Games will go carbon-neutral, what it all means and how individual households can get involved…

What does carbon-neutral mean?

Carbon neutrality is where a person or a company has a balance between the carbon dioxide they are emitting and absorbing.

Everything we do that produces carbon dioxide - from driving to powering your home even down to the clothes we wear - makes up our carbon footprint.  When you focus on becoming carbon-neutral, you or the operation behind an event, a group or a business, will redress the balance.

This is called carbon offsetting, and this involves steps like planting trees or switching to solar panels.

How will the Games be carbon-neutral?

Birmingham 2022 is proud to be building a carbon-neutral legacy and if you’re wondering how this vision will be actioned, the Games are very transparent in their objectives and plans.

Two of the standout initiatives that the Games will be delivered through their sponsors and connected organisations 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 act as both a carbon offsetting initiative and an opportunity to bring nature back to the forefront of local communities.

Alongside these exciting initiatives, Birmingham 2022 will maintain the following seven pledges of sustainability:

Addressing carbon and air quality

This includes using cleaner generators, encouraging use of public transport and having a three-site campus village model to reduce how far the athletes must travel.

Promoting a circular economy (reducing waste reduction)

This includes the installation of free drinking-water refill points and hiring instead of buying equipment.

Setting new standards in accessibility

This includes providing accessible venues, facilities, and barrier-free environments, and reducing the disability employment gap.

Delivering new conservation initiatives

This includes cleaning and clearing 22 miles of canals through the ‘United by 2022’ partnership that exists with The Canals & Rivers Trust.

Promoting social value through all practices

This includes providing jobs to try and help reduce unemployment and serve to upskill the workforce of the West Midlands.

Embedding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in all aspects of Games delivery

This includes actively seeking to recruit a diverse workforce and having the largest ever integrated para sport programme.

Ensuring human rights are at the heart of the Games

The Birmingham 2022 sustainability pledge is intrinsically aligned to the Commonwealth Games Federations’ impact areas of peace, sustainability and prosperity.

To learn more about their pledges in full, visit

How can you be more carbon-neutral at home?

If you’re looking to become more responsible for your personal carbon emissions, there are some easy steps to consider.

Examples of carbon offsetting:

  • Donating to renewable energy projects, such as building wind farms that replace coal-fired power plants.
  • Energy-efficiency improvements, such as increasing insulation in buildings to reduce heat loss
  • Switching to more eco-friendly transport methods – walking, cycling, public transport.
  • Carbon sequestration in soils or forests, such as tree-planting activities.

In addition, how you care for your household appliances can have a direct impact. If you’re not in the habit of proper maintenance for your appliances, they might break down quicker – and have you choosing to buy new.

However, this can contribute to excessive landfill waste and higher carbon emissions needed to build new appliances.

From regular maintenance with an expert to knowing what to do with old appliances – such as donating through the Reuse Network, you can make positive steps which can make a huge impact.

If you're inspired by the initiatives shown by the likes of Domestic & General and the Commonwealth Games 2022, you can use charities like onHand to introduce more climate and social action in your own household or workplace.

The tool helps you plant trees for all your employees every month, learn about the key issues from the experts and track your CO2 reduction to really understand the power of your efforts.

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