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More in this section Commission for a Sustainable London 2012

The sustainability legacy of the London 2012 Olympics

London 2012 legacy

Royal Holloway University’s Centre for Research into Sustainability (CRIS), hosts the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 website cslondon.org, making it available to all those with an interest in the Olympics and its sustainability legacy.

The Commission for Sustainable London was an independent body which monitored and assured the sustainability of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Commission was the first of its kind for an Olympic Games, and existed from January 2007 to March 2013. CRIS is leading research on the CSLondon 2012 website and its contents, and welcomes contact from other researchers wishing to engage with this topic..


London 2012 Resource Guides (funded by the Higher Education Authority):

Olympic Ethics & Values

Project Leader: Professor Laura J. Spence

This resource guide explores the meaning of values and ethics in the context of the Olympics and Paralympics. It considers the moral philosophical underpinnings of Olympism and examines their application and resultant issues. The annotated bibliography highlights texts which provide an introduction to Olympic Ethics, journal articles covering both broad and specific perspectives, and official Olympic and Paralympic resources relating to ethics and values.


  • Spence, L.J. (2014) Olympic values and ethics, London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Resource Guide Series. 2012- Legacies for Learning. Higher Education Authority.

Olympics and Sustainability

Project Leader: Dr Stephanos Anastasiadis 

This resource guide uses the context of the London 2012 Games to provide an overview of the recent approach of the Olympics and Paralympics to sustainability. It reports on the recent addition to Olympic values of sustainability and the environment and considers the extent to which the London Games addressed these concerns. It provides a very current and relevant bibliography in the form of books, journal articles and magazine articles


  • Anastasiadis, S. (2014) Olympics & Sustainability, London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Resource Guide Series. 2012- Legacies for Learning. Higher Education Authority.

The London 2012 Olympics as a drive for sustainable innovation

Project Leader: Dr Endrit Kromidha with Professor Laura J. SpenceDr Stephanos Anastasiadis and Darla Dore 

The aim of this project is to analyse sustainable innovation forces and ventures related to the London 2012 Olympic Games as a representative example of mega-events. During June-July 2014 three interviews were conducted with representatives of the Commission for Sustainability London (CSL), the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) and RMD Kwikform, the company subcontracted to build the Aquatics Centre. Following the preliminary analysis of interviews using governmentality as a theoretical framework a number of documents were extracted for analysis from CSL (1396 pages), LOCOG (6524 pages), ODA (1285 pages). Secondary information was collected from 14 small and medium enterprises engaged in sustainable innovation projects and some of the 53 sponsors.


  • Endrit Kromidha, Laura Spence, Stephanos Anastasiadis, Darla Dore 2014.  ‘Mega-events as potential drivers of sustainable innovation: London 2012 Olympics’. Humboldt University Berlin, CSR conference, 8-9 October.

Governing the Olympics

Project Leader:  Dr Stephanos Anastasiadis with  Professor Laura Spence 

In this conceptual work, we critically analyse the extraordinary power of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with respect to sustainability and economic, legal and commercial arrangements in a country hosting an Olympic Games, drawing on the case of the London 2012 Games to illustrate. The power exercised by the IOC amounts to its gaining a degree of national sovereignty, albeit in a negotiated, temporal and geographically-bounded manner. We locate the study in the field of political corporate social responsibility, and  draw on notions of private authority and legitimacy.


  • Anastasiadis, S. and Spence, L. 2015. Private authority and aspirational goods: The Olympics, legitimacy and sovereignty.European Group of Organization Studies. Athens, Greece, 2-4 July. (Submitted)
  • Anastasiadis, S. and Spence, L. 2014. The Political Role of Sporting Governing Bodies: The case of London 2012 Olympic sustainability, International Association for Business in Society, Sydney, Australia, 19-22 June.

Critical Accounting and Sustainability at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Project Leader: Lise Goepfert, supervised by Dr Leonardo Rinaldi

As part of her MSc International Accounting in the School of Management, Royal Holloway, Lise Goepfert is working on a dissertation on Critical Accounting and Sustainability at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In particular she is interested in understanding how the Olympic Committee represent themselves and the games in relation to sustainability. She aims to contribute to the understandings of how the notion of “green identity” has been produced and the role of accounting in fostering and shaping it. To do so Lise conducted qualitative research, involving the collection and analysis of secondary and tertiary data. The main data collection source was the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, hosted by CRIS.

Call for PhD proposals

What can the Olympics do for sustainability? What can sustainability can do for the Olympics?

We are looking for several top quality PhD researchers to join us at the Centre for Research into Sustainability where we host the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012’s website. Potential applicants are encouraged to prepare a full PhD research proposal and send it in the first instance to Professor Laura J. Spence, laura.spence@royalholloway.ac.uk. Potential students should arrange their own funding or excellent students should apply to the Royal Holloway for a scholarship. Possible topics could relate to, but need not be restricted to critical research questions around the following:

  • What were the conditions for the failure of labour standards at the London 2012 Olympics?
  • Mega-event supply chains – opportunities for governing sustainability
  • Death and construction at the Olympic Games
  • Sustainable innovation resulting from London 2012 responsible sourcing requirements
  • Gender and feminist perspectives on London 2012
  • Fair trade in the context of mega-events
  • Sustainability accounting – a critique of the Sustainability Reports from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012
  • Ethical sponsorship and integrity: an analysis of BP’s sponsorship of London 2012 sustainability
  • The International Olympic Committee as a governing body
  • The possibility of sport as a sustainability exemplar: the case of London 2012

The Centre for Research into Sustainability is a vibrant, international research group within Royal Holloway, University of London with members from the School of Management and the Department of Geography. Our work cuts across a very wide range of sustainability issues but we have particular strengths in Corporate Social Responsibility, Business Ethics, Sustainable Consumption, Sustainability Accounting and Small & Medium Sized Enterprises.

Royal Holloway and the Olympics


Royal Holloway was an Olympic Village and counts Olympians and Paralympians among its alumni.

Read more about the College's Olympic and Paralympic contributions.


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