Source of frustration

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has produced a 23-page document under the title LOCOG Sustainable Sourcing Code. Sustainable sourcing is defined as the procurement of products and services with environmental, social and ethical issues in mind.

In addition to listing acceptable materials, which presumably are intended mainly for use on construction sites, the document also has an appendix of restricted substances and materials.

Suppliers and licensees are instructed to seek to avoid supplying products, services or packaging materials that include any substances and materials identified in the published table.

The list under the subheading ‘Metals, including…’ raises the question of the knowledge and qualifications of those who prepared this table. For instance, zinc is listed, which would exclude the use of galvanised steel in the construction of buildings. Chromium is also blacklisted, presumably banning the installation of chrome-plated taps and fittings in the washrooms and toilets. Nickel is viewed by the code as ‘undesirable’, therefore outlawing the use of stainless steel for food preparation and cooking within the Olympic complex.

A number of trade associations are pointing out the ambiguities contained in the list of restricted substances. No doubt someone is now working on the second edition of the Sourcing Code and employing the practical expertise and knowledge that was actually available from day one.

John Swain, Birmingham