Sustainable procurement at Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Top 10 tips for a winning bid

Published 23 June 2016 By: Lance Miller, Celeste Koravos, Nick Fitzpatrick


Tokyo is set to host the Games of the XXXII Olympiad from 25 July – 9 August 2020, and the Paralympic Games from 25 August – 6 September 2020. With procurement well underway, we have summarised our top ten tips for how your business can make a winning bid for procurement opportunities, across industries such as construction, agriculture and security services.

1. Ensure that your products, services and supply chains comply with the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) Fundamental Principles for the Sustainable Sourcing Code (Sourcing Code).1 The Sourcing Code calls for suppliers and licensees to reduce, reuse, recycle, lease or rent where possible in order to minimise the environmental impact of procurement.

2. Ensure that your supply complies with basic requirements in relation to human rights, labour management practices, working conditions, fair business practices as well as environmental conservation. The Sourcing Code provides guidelines in relation to:

  1. how products and services are supplied (e.g. no discrimination, no harassments, no forced labour, no child labour, no bribery, no dumping, etc.);
  2. the origins of products and services and the resources they are made of (e.g. eco-friendly fishery, no conflict minerals, no illegal logging, less packaging, etc.);
  3. compliance to the Sourcing Code throughout the supply chains; and
  4. effective use of resources..

3. Strive to attain Japanese values and aesthetics to celebrate the unique features of Japan, such as world-class urban infrastructure and safety. TOCOG’s High Level Sustainability Plan (Sustainability Plan)2 reminds bidders that their offers should emphasise Japanese beauty or traditional values such as:

  • (the spirit of selfless hospitality);
  • mottainai (sense of avoiding waste);
  • wa wo motte toutoshi to nasu (harmony is the ultimate view); and
  • edomae (traditional Tokyo style).

Technology should be cutting-edge. The Games will take place in Japan’s hot and muggy summer, so measures such as pavements that mitigate rises in surface temperatures, dry mist cooling systems and greenery will be a bonus.

4. Go green. Reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, and properly deal with any unavoidable emissions (for example, through carbon offsetting).3 All venues and facilities need to comply with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s (TMG) Green Building Program4 and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s Comprehensive Assessment System for Buildings. “ZEB’s” (‘zero energy buildings’, achieved through energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy) would be considered favourably.

5. If you are involved in procurement for Olympic infrastructure, consider the fate of any infrastructure post 2020, highlighting any potential for re-use. For example, the TMG plans to convert the Athletes’ Village in Harumi into an ecofriendly residential district for 12,000 people with hydropowered facilities. Some infrastructure may even be completely removed, with plans for small temporary facilities including venues for beach volleyball, archery and BMX.

6. Think broadly about how your contribution to the Games will complement TMG’s long term development vision for a Sustainable City.5 This vision aims to create an urban space in harmony with the environment and a city where people of all generations can live with a sense of security. Further, it includes the development of high-quality, reliable urban infrastructure through the use of new technology, systematic renewal processes and existing function upgrades. Other focus areas are disaster resistance, smart grid societies and the development of water networks and rich green environments.

7. Comply with Japanese environmental laws, including:6

  • Air Pollution Control Act (Japan) Act No 97 of 1968;
  • Water Pollution Control Act (Japan) Act No 138 of 1970;
  • Noise Regulation Act (Japan) Act No 98 of 1968;
  • Vibration Regulation Act (Japan) Act No 64 of 1976;
  • Offensive Odour Control Act (Japan) Act No 91 of 1971; and
  • Act on the Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources (Japan) Act No 48 of 1991.6

Meet Japan’s natural environment and biodiversity requirements; 2020 is the deadline to meet the Aichi Targets adopted at the COP10 Convention on Biological Diversity which focus on “living in harmony with nature” and “taking effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity”. Projects should take into account biodiversity, water and greenery related issues, especially to mitigate Tokyo’s urban heat island phenomenon.7

8. Comply with the ISO 20121 Standard for Sustainable Events Management. London 2012 catalysed the creation of this Standard, with the ISO 20400 Standard for Sustainable Procurement, currently being developed by a committee of over 40 countries. The current Standard provides best practices in managing the economic, social and environmental impact of an event.8

9. Submit a bid in accordance with the WTO Agreement on Procurement,9 if applicable. TOCOG and the TMG will run the bidding process for open tenders in accordance with this agreement. A sustainable procurement work programme for the agreement is also under negotiation.10 Three construction tenders recently announced by the TMG require compliance with the WTO Agreement on Procurement:

  • Olympic Aquatics Centre (JPY53 billion);
  • Ariake Arena (for indoor volleyball, JPY36 billion); and
  • Sea Forest Waterway (for rowing and canoe-kayaking, JPY24 billion).

Depending on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), TMG procurements may also be run in accordance with Article 15 (Government Procurement) of the TPP.

10. Partner with a Japanese company. If you are bidding for Tokyo 2020 Sponsor status (Gold Partner, Official Partner or Official Supporter), the region of sponsorship is limited to Japan. You are more likely to succeed if you collaborate with a local player.

This piece was written for and first published on the DLA Piper blog - access here for more entertainment, media and sports articles.


Related Articles


Lance Miller

Lance Miller

Lance Miller is the Country Manging Partner for DLA Japan. He focuses his practice in the areas of are banking and finance, cross-border mergers and restructuring/workouts.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Celeste Koravos

Celeste Koravos

Celeste Koravo, Senior Associate at Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Celeste is an infrastructure, construction and energy lawyer with experience advising public and private sector clients on a range of complex and large-scale projects. She has experience drafting and negotiating project documents and acting in construction disputes including mediations, litigation and international arbitration.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Nick Fitzpatrick

Nick Fitzpatrick

Nick is a media and sport lawyer with 20 years' experience, including substantial experience of negotiating and structuring complex arrangements for the exploitation of media rights across all platforms, brand exploitation, event organisation, sports administration, copyright, gambling and advertising.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.