Credit: Niki Kendall

Coady is charged with ensuring the 2010 Olympic Winter Games live up to their lofty sustainability promises, including ensuring adequate social services for inner-city residents, and leaving a legacy of affordable housing. Not to mention making sure the massive organization behind the Games is committed to sustainable business practices in its daily operations.

“We’re striving to create some outcomes in these areas that will also be inspiring,” Coady explains, “that will make people inspired to create similar outcomes in their own personal lives and choices.”

Although the Olympics organizing committee only has a few hundred employees right now, that number will swell to 55,000 by Games time, and Coady has no intention of overseeing every one of those people, making sure they recycle their office paper. Instead she’s working hard right now to ensure that each of VANOC’s 53 business units has sustainability hard-wired into its business plan.

That means making sure that each division articulates measurable goals, that someone is accountable for achieving those goals, and that the division reports regularly on progress toward those goals.

“When organizations want to go after sustainability, this is how they walk the talk,” Coady
explains. “It’s not glamorous, and it’s a tough slog. The delivery depends on everyone. There are just eight people in my group. Fifty-five thousand people will deliver sustainable games.”