Outlined in the 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 Birmingham 2022 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.
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”.
Liv Garfield, CEO of Severn Trent said: ‘’We’re delighted to be partnering with the Commonwealth Games and to play a leading role in helping make Birmingham 2022 the most sustainable games ever. We’re passionate about making a positive impact on the communities and the environment where we live and operate, and to the lives of everyone that we serve.
“And that’s why we just had to be involved. Through this exciting partnership we’ll build on our existing work and ambitions to deliver lasting social and environmental change by creating new green urban spaces, further enhancing biodiversity, promoting plastic-free thinking and ultimately delivering a carbon neutral legacy for generations to come.’’
The plans come just a few months before the UK hosts the COP26 summit in Glasgow, host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.
Photo above: Birmingham 2022 Chief Executive Ian Reid and Severn Trent CEO Liv Garfield present the new partnership.