The Pre-Games Sustainability Report details progress made on the implementation of a sustainability plan released in May 2020 ©Getty Images

The Beijing 2022 Organising Committee has published a Pre-Games Sustainability Report which its President Cai Qi has claimed demonstrates "our successful efforts in staging a green Games".

The 132-page document is divided into four sections covering sustainability management, the environmental impact of the Games, new development for the host region and delivering a "better life for the people".

A sustainability plan was released in May 2020, and the Pre-Games Sustainability Report has been published by Beijing 2022 to detail progress made on its implementation.

"This report summarises our successful efforts in staging a green Games," Cai said.

"The sustainability achievements already demonstrate and also provide an overview of the progress in terms of our vision, objectives, measures and outcomes.

"We have every confidence in staging a 'simple, safe and splendid' Games that will leave a deep impression and fond memories to the whole world.

"We also have every confidence in passing on the sustainability legacy of our Games delivering lasting benefits to the people."

Venues for the Games are situated across three clusters in the Chinese capital, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

Six of the venues in the Beijing zone are described as "legacies" of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the use of carbon dioxide as a refrigerant at four ice sport venues to cut emissions by an expected 900 tonnes is billed as a Winter Olympic first.

Organisers insist they have "integrated the low-carbon concept into all relevant aspects of Games preparations", and reiterated that the event will be carbon neutral, with "forestry carbon sinks" projects in Beijing and Zhangjiakou cited as an example of where emissions will be compensated.

All venues for Beijing 2022 are to be powered by renewable energy.

The usage of energy-saving and clean-energy is also highlighted in the report, with these set to account for all passenger cars and 84.9 per cent of all vehicles for the Games.

All venues for Beijing 2022 are set to be powered by renewable energy ©Beijing 2022
All venues for Beijing 2022 are set to be powered by renewable energy ©Beijing 2022

From 2030, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will require Olympic Games Organising Committees to stage "climate positive" events, with Paris 2024 having already committed to this aim.

Biologists raised concerns over the biological impact of the Games when Beijing narrowly beat Almaty to win hosting rights in 2015, with proposed venues including the National Alpine Ski Centre in Yanqing situated close to the Beijing Songshan National Nature Reserve.

Organisers said in the report that plans for the Olympic Village in Yanqing were adjusted to preserve 127 native trees, and 11,027 plants were transplanted from the cluster to conservation areas.

It is also claimed that 24,272 trees in Yanqing have been "transplanted to an ex-situ conservation base", and more than 600 artificial nests have been created in the region to alleviate the impact of construction on birds.

The report adds that air quality in Beijing and Zhangjiakou has "improved significantly" since 2015, with annual average concentrations of PM2.5 reducing by 59 per cent and 33.1 per cent respectively.

The reliance on artificial snow in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou has been an environmental concern in the build-up to Beijing 2022, with an estimated 49 million gallons of water required for this process and Professor Carmen de Jong warning "these could be the most unsustainable Winter Olympics ever held".

Artificial snow has a significant impact on water and energy consumption and can cause ecological damage.

It also featured prominently at Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.

The report said approximately 890,000 cubic metres of water will be required in Yanqing from November 2021 to March 2022 and 1.9 million cubic metres in Zhangjiakou, with actual figures to be published in the post-Games report.

Concerns have been raised over the usage of artificial snow in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou in the build-up to Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images
Concerns have been raised over the usage of artificial snow in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou in the build-up to Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

"Surface water is used for all snow and ice making in the Yanqing and Zhangjiakou zones," it said.

"The recycling of rainwater and snowmelt water is fully considered, and rainwater and snowmelt water collection and utilisation systems are built."

The Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway is cited as a significant boost to regional development, with the approximately 200 kilometres journey between the two cities reduced from more than three hours to 47 minutes.

It is also claimed that the goal of encouraging 300 million people to take part in winter sports "is gradually becoming true", with 230 million taking part in the 2020-2021 snow season, and that the Games have helped to create job opportunities and boost tourism.

China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The country's President Xi Jinping did not attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November, with his written statement committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to "net-zero" by 2060.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the Winter Olympics were helping to drive improvements on sustainable development in China.

"As this report outlines, Beijing 2022 is helping accelerate sustainable development in China, showcasing solutions for a more sustainable future," Bach said.

"In doing so, Beijing 2022 has consulted with local and international stakeholders, raising awareness around sustainability topics in China and beyond."

The International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons added: "We have reasons to believe that staging of the Beijing 2022 Games will promote sustainable development in all three spheres - environment, economy, and society.

"We believe the Paralympic Winter Games will enable Para athletes to achieve sporting excellence and thereby inspire and excite the world."

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are due to begin in less than three weeks' time and run from February 4 to 20, with the Winter Paralympics following from March 4 to 13.