It has been eight years since EDF pledged its support to London 2012 by becoming the first commercial partner of the bid at a time few people thought London could win. I have been privileged to be involved from the very start.
It has already been a unique and special experience for all of us involved, but with the Torch Relay underway and our pavilion on the Olympic Park completed ready for the Games, the anticipation and excitement is really building. From the very beginning EDF has recognised the potential for London 2012 to be a catalyst for connecting with people and helping us engage them in doing their bit for a lower carbon future in ways that probably would have been impossible without the Games.
At the heart of our approach is low-carbon electricity and our supply package for the Games. We have guaranteed that for each unit of mains electricity used on the Olympic Park, we will provide a unit generated from low-carbon sources to the national grid. Eighty per cent will come from EDF's existing nuclear fleet, with the remaining 20 per cent coming from renewable generation assets. The point of this is to encourage customers to differentiate between the different sources of electricity production.
We are also using some of London's greatest icons to reinforce this point. We are supplying the EDF Energy London Eye (pictuerd below) and Tower Bridge with electricity matched by units of low-carbon electricity.
One of the high points of our 2012 programme so far came at the end of May, standing at the top of City Hall looking at Tower Bridge and seeing the first of a series of light shows made possible by our project. With our fellow London 2012 partners General Electric (GE), the City of London and the Greater London Authority, we have enabled installation of state of the art energy-efficient LED lighting. The lighting is computer-controlled and will leave a long-term legacy for the City of London while ensuring Tower Bridge can play a starring role in London's celebrations during Games time.
These famous landmarks and some of the main venues on the Olympic Park will also benefit from our real time venue energy monitoring systems. This new technology allows energy managers at these sites to view electricity use at different sites in real time in a way that really brings it to life.
The idea of showing how the intelligent use of technology can help us all take control of our energy use is behind some other things we are doing for the Games.
For example, EDF is working with Transport for London, LOCOG, GE and BMW to install 120 new charging points (pictured above) to support the electric cars that will be in the Olympic car fleet. The EDF R&D team provided the technical guidance on how the new systems could be set up without destabilising local electricity networks. As part of the project we have simultaneously charged 40 vehicles in a single location, which is the largest trial we have ever seen anywhere in the world. Our experience in this will certainly help with the roll out of electric vehicles for fleet use in the future and the new charging points will stay in legacy.
Achieving our goal of using our association with London 2012 to help tackle climate change also means encouraging people to change how they use energy. Back in 2009 we launched Team Green Britain (pictured below): a community galvanised to work together to help the environment by taking personal action to reduce their carbon footprint. We now have over one million members.
Our nationwide programme for Greener Schools, The Pod, part of London 2012's Get Set programme, has been a huge success. Since the initiative was launched in 2008, 6.5 million schoolchildren have used resources from the programme. With so many involved we are leaving a whole generation of young people who are better informed about sustainability.
However, the Games is first and foremost about sport. The EDF Community Rowing Challenge provided 40 pupils from schools in East London with training from top-class coaches and former athletes, culminating in a race on the Olympic course at Dorney Lake. It was a pleasure to see the passion of the young people who took part and to witness their inspiration by Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave and London 2012 medal hopeful Katherine Grainger. As well as sporting proficiencies these youngsters have taken away skills in areas such as teamwork and communication which will serve them well in future.
EDF has been working closely with the British Paralympic Association over the past two years to help it become a greener team. This has focused on reducing the carbon footprint of ParalympicsGB's preparation camp in Bath, with last year's event becoming the first of its kind to be accredited by the Council for Responsible Sport. We also made ParalympicsGB our charity partner and our employees, supported by match-funding from the company, have so far raised £400,000.
It's been a busy, rewarding time for my team and our colleagues from across the EDF Group in the United Kingdom and internationally. With the Games upon us, we are now getting ready for the time of our lives, and to put our hard work and planning to the test.
But the work won't finish when the curtain comes down on the Games. Many of our projects support a positive legacy of sustainability and we are focused on making sure that London 2012 will continue to be a catalyst for a lower carbon future even when our project ends.
Gareth Wynn is the London 2012 programme director for EDF Energy, the Official Electricity Supplier and Official Partner of London 2012.
We have been involved from the very start. Way back in 2005, we helped deliver the London 2012 Games bid with Seb Coe. Since then we have continued to support the Games and British talent, by flying our athletes around the world to train and compete. In 2008 Team GB and ParalympicsGB returned home from the Beijing 2008 Games with us on a gold nose aircraft called Pride!
At the airline, we have a long history of supporting major sporting and cultural events, so it was a natural decision to ensure this continued for the first Olympic Games on home soil in over 50 years. This is the first time that British Airways has been an official Games sponsor; and as a proud British brand it's an opportunity for us to celebrate what's great about London and our country. London 2012 is going to be the biggest sporting and cultural event of our lifetime.
One of our objectives for sponsoring the Games is to have a significant positive impact on how British Airways is perceived by consumers in terms of preference for the airline. We want to make sure we receive a higher consideration among consumers when they are planning to travel.
We want to re-inforce brand loyalty, which we hope to do by showing our integral role in the Games. For us, like many sponsors, satisfaction comes not just from achieving our brand objectives, but from knowing we are playing an essential part in staging an event that will touch billions of people across the world.
Among the activation activities that we have planned around our sponsorship is the BA Great Britons programme, which uses the inspiration of the Games to provide life changing opportunities. The activity focuses on a number of different fields which are not only important to British Airways, but to consumers as part of their flying experience. Under celebrity judges Richard E Grant (pictured below, right), Heston Blumenthal (pictured below, left) and Tracey Emin (pictured below, centre), individuals were invited to apply for one of three opportunities: drafting a short film script which will be produced and shown on board flights; a London 2012 Games inspired menu to be served during flights; and an artwork livery that will be painted on a number of celebratory fleet. Scriptwriter Prasanna Puwanarajah, chef Simon Hulstone and designer Pascal Anson have been working on their projects with Grant, Heston and Emin.
We want to re-inforce brand loyalty, which we hope to do by showing our integral role in the Games. For us, like many sponsors, satisfaction comes not just from achieving our brand objectives but from knowing we are playing an essential part in staging an event that will touch billions of people across the world.
Building on our longstanding support of the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association, we have also developed additional tailored partnerships with national governing bodies and individual athletes who have ongoing specific air travel requirements in the run up to and beyond London 2012. Each partnership is then brought to life via highly impactful advertising, PR, digital and social media and live events; timed to coincide with key sporting moments.
Although this is a "home" Games we want to remind the wider public of the incredible journeys, both physical and emotional, that our athletes go on to make it to London 2012. The sacrifices they have to make and the hours they put in is something we wanted to celebrate. Our natural position is to talk about how we can help them in our own way, not just by flying them around the world to train and compete, but also in many more individual ways, specific to their individual needs.
A number of other promotions will follow between now and July and many other initiatives are soon to be unveiled. By putting national pride at the heart of a creatively impactful campaign we can all feel part of the excitement.
And, of course, in the run up to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, we will be flying in a number of the British individual sport teams from their training camps as well as members of the International Olympic Committee, guests and families.
All in all, there is something very special about knowing that our support plays a part in enabling the show to go on.
Luisa Fernandez is British Airway's sponsorship manager for the London 2012 Games. British Airways are the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Click here for more information.
Through a successful partnership with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the German National Paralympic Committee (DBS), Allianz SE has been dedicated to the Paralympic Movement since 2006.
After five years as Gold Patron of the IPC, Allianz SE became the first International Partner of the IPC in 2011 and is now also a National Supporter of nine National Paralympic Committees on a local level (Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey).
Allianz wants to bring the Paralympic Movement forward and focus strongly on the motivation and strength of the Paralympic athletes.
The emotional motto of Allianz' Paralympic partnership "Believe in Yourself" encourages everyone to identify with the inspiring achievements of Paralympic athletes and to find the motivation to move on and the strength to move up in life. Allianz sees the Paralympic athletes as role models for true motivation.
The topics of health, rehabilitation and reintegration after a casualty are part of Allianz' daily business because 650 million people worldwide are living with a disability and one in four Europeans has a family member with a disability. Extending that to people around you, disability is definitely a topic that concerns all of us.
As part of its Paralympic partnership, Allianz actively promotes the Paralympic Movement and aims to reduce social reservations towards disability and sports.
As a consequence, Allianz facilitates a variety of information and organises events where the public as well as the media can learn more about the fascination of Paralympic Sport and the amazing achievements of Paralympic athletes in the lead up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Joseph K Gross is global head of group market management at Allianz
Although our programme has evolved with each passing year, what remains constant is our commitment to local communities across England, Wales and also Scotland since Lloyds Banking Group added Bank of Scotland to its portfolio in 2009.
Right from the off, we knew that our sponsorship activity had to be inclusive, to resonate with a customer base that covers every part of the population. A bank is at the heart of the local community, and with a branch on almost every high street, we knew we were better placed than any other partner to take the Games to communities everywhere. So our strategy has always reflected this – it's about taking a global programme local and making it tangible for communities.
Through programmes like Local Heroes, supporting upcoming athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond, or the work we've done in helping businesses benefit from London 2012 so that a third of its contract winners have been supported by Lloyds, our priority has always been to ensure that our activity has integrity, credibility and inclusivity. We haven't aligned ourselves with the elite end of British sport.
This approach has already given us an impressive return – 75 per cent of our customers are aware of us as a London 2012 partner and this awareness is leading to a third of them being more likely to recommend us.
On a local level, customers who know about our Local Heroes programme are 50 per cent more likely to recommend us as a bank. This tells us our partnership is working as a vehicle to communicate our brand, its values and what we stand for, and in doing so helps people think differently about us.
Over the last 18 months in particular, we've really given people the chance to either feel involved or to benefit – whether through winning tickets to the Games, offering the opportunity to be a Torchbearer in the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays, getting behind the Local Heroes from their area or supporting their local school in National School Sport Week.
Our role as a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, the 70 day nationwide event that starts on May 19, will be a major focal point for us. Travelling through thousands of towns and communities, the Olympic Torch Relay will mark the moment that every corner of Britain starts to feel the excitement of London 2012 and is the perfect platform for us to continue to take the Games across the length and breadth of the UK.
For Lloyds, the relay is almost like the glue that binds all of our programmes together in 2012. Our Torchbearers will be representing their local communities, Local Heroes will be carrying the Flame for their sport and young athletes all over the UK, schools will be lining the route and helping us celebrate along the way, and once again, our branches will be thrust back into the heart of the community as the Torch goes past their front doors and Britain prepares for the greatest show on earth.
This year is the culmination of five years' work and we are all very excited and proud to be involved.
We're continuing to support Local Heroes and when the new programme kicks off in March, we'll have supported 1,000 athletes since launching.
We're hoping to see a number of these athletes selected as part of Team GB and ParalympicsGB which will be a hugely proud moment for all of us, so fingers crossed.
We're also helping more schools get involved in London 2012 – as well as National School Sport Week, we'll be helping schools celebrate the Games through World Sport Day on June 25, and thousands of pupils also have the chance to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay through our Flame Followers programme.
But it will be an incredibly busy period for all of us and the first experience of working at an Olympic Games for many. As a leader, part of my focus is to look after the health and welfare of my team during this intense period, but also to ensure that they are getting the most out of what will be a once if a lifetime experience.
Sally Hancock is director of Olympic marketing and group sponsorship at Lloyds Banking Group
Chris Hale of Holiday Inn: Holiday Inn is proud to be playing its part in the greatest show on earth
As part of our sponsorship Holiday Inn will host staff from London 2012 and other organising bodies in the run-up to and during the Games.
We will also support up to 50 emerging and established British athletes by providing them with over 1,500 free hotel nights.
The athletes, their support teams and their friends and family can use the stays at any time, up to the end of 2012, while they are training and competing or during rest and recovery.
Holiday Inn is also helping to host athletes and support staff in the Olympic Village and will provide over 90 staff for the Stratford and Weymouth Villages, including residential managers, front desk staff and concierges.
We will be using our global hospitality expertise at all stages to play our part in the greatest show on earth; the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Christopher Hale is the head of London 2012 for Holiday Inn
It's our job to help make London 2012 the most connected Games ever.
During the Games, our communications networks will carry every official image, every sports report and millions of calls, emails and texts.
Of course, we're using our London 2012 partnership to engage and inspire our customers and our people too. We've got a team of Olympic and Paralympic champions who attend internal and customer events to tell their inspirational personal stories of overcoming challenges to achieve their dreams.
For us, London 2012 is not just about fantastic sport - we want to help tell the story of the people who are working behind the scenes to make the Games happen. That's why we partnered the National Portrait Gallery for our Road to 2012 project. We've enabled the Gallery to commission world class photographers to take 100 brand new portraits that tell the story of people behind the Games from the bid stage, through the build of the venues, to the athletes preparing to compete next year.
We're also committed to engaging people across the UK in this once in a lifetime event.
To support this ambition, we launched our BT Storytellers campaign, signing up 100 members of the public to record the story of London 2012 in a variety of creative ways, whether through music, photography, art, social media, film or blogging.
BT also has a long history of supporting the Paralympic Movement. London 2012 provides a real opportunity to change the way people view Paralympic sport and we're committed to raising the profile of Paralympians globally. BT was the first official partner of the British Paralympic Association (BPA) when it was founded in 1989 and we have committed to supporting the team through to Rio 2016.
In addition, BT is one of a limited number of partners with enhanced marketing rights for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We're a co-sponsor of Channel 4's Paralympic coverage and title sponsor of the annual BT Paralympic World Cup (pictured) held in Manchester every May.
With less than a year to go until the start of the Games we're right where we need to be - we're ensuring that as a business, BT is ready for London 2012, and that our customers are ready.
We have been involved with London 2012 since its inception and we'll be taking people to the heart of the Games.
Suzi Williams is BT Group marketing and brand director. BT is the official communications services partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For more information click here.
Mark Naysmith of Deloitte: UK businesses must start preparing for London 2012 as soon as possible or risk missing out
London 2012 is getting closer and the preparations of athletes and organisers are picking up pace.
On this day next year, we will see the first day of competition in the Velodrome, and Great Britain will be hoping their cycling heroes in Beijing can repeat that success to get the London party started.
What about the preparations of UK businesses?
In order to capitalise on any increase in demand and minimise disruption to operations, businesses must be ready.
But are they?
Deloitte asked 300 large UK businesses about how they were preparing for the opportunities and challenges from London 2012. We were encouraged to discover that 95 per cent of businesses have either started assessing or plan to assess the impact of the Games. Less encouraging was that 53 per cent have yet to start this process.
However, it is clear that businesses are waking up to the need to prepare and be ready for the Games. When we asked the same question last year, 56 per cent of companies said they had no intention of assessing the impact of the Games at all. Now it is just five per cent.
Businesses yet to start their Games readiness assessments should do so immediately - initially by gaining senior level buy-in for a Games readiness programme. This should be quickly followed by the appointment of a representative group from across the organisation to assess the risks and opportunities. Every business is different and should recognise its unique circumstances in its assessment - with industry, geography and competition among the key influencing factors.
Our research suggests that businesses have increased their level of understanding about the potential challenges they could face during Games time. Thirty seven per cent of companies are worried about the risk of a security incident, compared with 5.5 per cent last year, whilst 26 per cent are concerned by a potential lack of resources such as hotels (seven per cent last year). Eighteen per cent fear disruption to their supply chain (eight per cent last year) and just 3 per cent of businesses expect no disruption at all, a significant decrease on the 39 per cent of businesses who felt this way just 12 months ago.
The issue causing greatest concern to business is the potential unavailability of staff. Forty three per cent of companies cite this as a major concern ahead of the Games, compared with 23 per cent when asked last year.
Transport disruption is one possible cause of staff unavailability and businesses should use the Games as an opportunity to review and implement alternate sites, flexible and home working practices where feasible. This would be hugely beneficial to strengthening the long-term resilience of organisations, providing a legacy benefit from the Games, as well as helping reduce the strain on London's transport system.
Critical to developing an accurate understanding of all the potential impact areas is crafting a set of planning assumptions around transport and staff availability, supply chain, resources, security and technology. Organisations should not wait until hard data is available as this is likely to leave things too late.
With less than a year to go, it is encouraging to see improved business sentiment and awareness about the Games. However, this is tinged with a degree of caution in that most organisations have yet to understand fully the impact.
London 2012 is an immovable deadline, and time is starting to run out. The sooner businesses implement their Games readiness assessment with sufficient vigour, the sooner positive changes can be made. This will ensure adequate preparation in advance so the exciting opportunities of this sporting and cultural spectacular can be fully enjoyed.
Mark Naysmith is a director in the business continuity and resilience team at Deloitte, the official professional services provider to London 2012
Heather Hancock of Deloitte: With year to go Britain is really starting to feel the economic impact of London 2012
In the challenging aftermath of the global financial crises, businesses of all shapes and sizes have welcomed the supply opportunities thrown up by an event often characterised as the biggest logistical exercise a country can undertake in peacetime. London 2012 related contracts worth more than £3.5 billion ($5.7 billion/€4 billion) have already been awarded to 950 different businesses.
While the timing was perfect, these opportunities were not served on a plate. The businesses that benefited prepared well and acted quickly.
The race, however, is not yet fully run. With one year to go until the start of the Games, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is still to procure more than £700 million ($1.1 billion/€793 million) worth of goods and services. Six hundred or so pre-Games training camps are also still to be arranged and these will be held across the country.
When show time finally arrives, VisitBritain estimates the potential additional spending by visitors resulting from the Games at over £2 billion (£3.3 billion/€2.3 billion), providing another welcome source of extra demand for local businesses.
These visitors will not just be tourists and sports fans. As the world's best athletes strive for gold in the Olympic Park, a diverse array of National Olympic Committees, sports federations, Heads of State, corporate sponsors, their guests and customers will descend on the UK capital, along with other venues as far apart as Glasgow and Weymouth.
No wonder that research recently commissioned by Deloitte found that 41 per cent of companies in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector were expecting an increase in demand for their services.
Substantial as they are, however, the benefits for British businesses of staging the Games will not solely be short-term in nature.
It has already provided a massive reputational boost for the UK construction industry as a result of the skill and efficiency with which contractors have set about the gargantuan task of creating the Olympic Park. In June this year, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg led a trade mission to Brazil to promote the skills and track record of companies helping to stage the Games, including a significant focus on the construction and engineering contractors.
The Games have also given a clear push forward to Britain's already formidable events and marketing industry. It has opened doors in fast-developing economies such as Russia and Brazil, which will stage, respectively, the Sochi 2014 Winter Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
As the official professional services provider to London 2012, Deloitte is also using the Olympic and Paralympic Games to drive growth.
The Olympic project has given us an opportunity to demonstrate our expertise through a large-scale event of such universal appeal. For example, Drivers Jonas Deloitte will be project managing the construction of both the beach volleyball facility at Horse Guards Parade and the equestrian venue at Greenwich Park. This is a challenging assignment, since it involves creating temporary Olympic Games-calibre venues from scratch on sensitive heritage sites and reinstating those sites afterwards.
The Games also offer an effective tool for inspiring existing Deloitte employees and attracting the highest-possible calibre of job applicants. The value of the Olympic Games has already been demonstrated through a major impact on recruitment and retention. Many of our people have had the opportunity to work with LOCOG and other Olympic bodies either through secondments or on advisory projects. These roles have been highly sought-after with around 10 per cent of the entire firm having applied for a LOCOG secondment role whilst our sponsorship is often cited as a reason to join the firm in job interviews.
While the Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremonies will rightly celebrate the achievements of the athletes, it should also provide an opportunity to celebrate the growth that London 2012 has delivered.
Heather Hancock is lead London 2012 partner at Deloitte.
I've been in Singapore since the weekend to enjoy the early competition in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games and to support Deloitte Singapore's tier one sponsorship of the event - we were the first sponsor to come on board here and have been involved from the early stages of the OCOG being established.
A number of things have particularly struck me about the atmosphere and the organisational approach to make the "youth" element of these Games a real differentiator.
The first and most significant point is the genuine pride of the Singaporean people in hosting the event. The chance to use the Games as an opportunity to change attitudes to sports participation, especially in children in Singapore, has been a high priority. Getting more young people in the host country to take part in a greater range of sports is central to the Organising Committee’s vision for these Games and it is the first thing members of the Committee mention when you ask them of what they are most proud.
One example of this is that fencing has now been adopted as a recognised school sport so participation "earns extra-curricular credits for young people in the Singaporean education system. It's a long haul though - for business sponsors of the Games, especially domestically, this has not been a big client-facing event, and audiences are relatively clear of evident corporate hospitality. Partly that's because the Games don't have the elite pull of the "full" Olympics, but also because sport isn't a CEO topic of conversation the way it is in many western nations.
The second observation is the extent to which the "Youth" angle has been embraced here. Many Games volunteers are school or college age and can be seen manning entry points and accreditation desks. Whilst there have been a few challenges, overall this has worked extremely well. A similar approach was adopted in Beijing with young people volunteering but whilst they were equally welcoming, they were not quite as adept at coping with challenges as they arose.
I was made very aware of the interest young people have in volunteering at the Olympic Games last weekend as teenagers in my home village lobbied me about the minimum age for volunteering in London. Sadly for them, I am not a big influencer!
Whilst the different requirements of each Games means that London has set a higher age for volunteers, it is evident that young people are excited about the eyes of the world turning on their capital city. Importing the youthful enthusiasm of Singapore to London will be vital.
There is one other challenge from what has been a fairly successful trial run for the IOC.
With China - Nanjing - hosting the next summer YOG in 2014, how will the IOC keep the event's scale, charm and affordability in check so that the next bid cities feel that it's still a realistic aspiration to host a Youth Games if the full-blown Olympics is beyond their budget?
One to watch as Singapore closes and Nanjing starts planning....
Heather Hancock is Lead Partner for London 2012 and Managing Partner for Innovation & Brand at Deloitte