Designing and organizing a green event means integrating elements of sustainable development into both the preparation of the event and the event itself. From communication with stakeholders, to the choice of venue, to the modes of transport required to reach the event, every step must be taken into account. What is a sustainable event, why choose Paris, and how should you select your service providers? Find the answers in our article dedicated to green events!
What is a green event?
In order for an event to be eco-friendly, be it a trade show, a seminar or a gala dinner, it must not only preserve the environment but also be socially and economically beneficial. As an event organizer, you must take into account the effects on the environment, local people and the economy by adopting good practices and preventing negative consequences; this is the key to an eco-friendly event! Short timescales can make organizing eco-friendly events a real challenge, especially on the environmental side; accessible measures such as limiting transport-based pollution, waste production and energy and water consumption are becoming more and more essential.
5 reasons to go green!
Paris, a sustainable city
The French capital is pulling out all the stops to engage with modern sustainable approaches, with the aim to create a more inclusive, open, innovative and environmentally respectful city.
Paris is committed to combatting climate change, improving the quality of the environment, favouring biodiversity, promoting civil participation, strengthening social cohesion and encouraging a circular economy and responsible consumption. To these ends, the city is currently launching a number of action plans, such as the Paris Climate Action Plan for ‘a carbon neutral city and 100% renewable energies’ and the Biodiversity Action Plan to increase vegetation in the city’s public spaces and protect flora and fauna. At the heart of the plans: energy, ecomobility, waste, air quality and openness to nature.
Paris is committed to:
To ensure that event organizers can also get involved, Paris has created a Charter for eco-friendly events to encourage and help companies to reduce the environmental impact of their events. The Charter has 8 objectives:
- Sustainable event design
1. Reduce the environmental footprint of the transport of people and goods.
2. Minimize the use of energy resources.
3. Favour the use of reusable and recyclable products and facilities.
4. Reduce, sort and recycle waste.
5. Favour sustainable catering.
- Eco-communication and raising public awareness
6. Establish an eco-friendly communication.
7. Raise awareness about sustainable development issues.
8. Know about, inform others of and compensate for the ecological footprint of the event.
This Charter is also a valuable tool for the City of Paris to promote environmentally-committed events.
How to choose eco-friendly service providers
More and more tourism and event management professionals are integrating sustainable aims into their everyday practices and processes. From transport to accommodation, Paris is full of committed service providers who are keen to adapt to new ecological standards. Here is our selection of providers in various sectors who have already chosen to act.
Finding a venue
Be it a dedicated event venue, a hotel or a museum, the eco-friendliness of a venue is linked to its location and accessibility, its energy performance, its choice of layout, its adapted equipment, its good practice training for staff and its approach.
Various charters, standards and labels exist to guarantee the quality of event venues. These include the European ecolabel with around 100 criteria, the ISO 20121, an international standard dedicated to event management that requires companies to implement a sustainable management system, and the international ‘Green Globe’ certification, which requires companies to meet certain ecological criteria adapted to their sector.
The GoodPlanet Foundation’s Domaine de Longchamp, which aims to raise awareness of ecology and humanism, opened the doors of its 19th-century chateau in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne in 2017. This venue, which is available for hire and raises public awareness about ecology and environmental conservation through exhibitions, debates, concerts and screenings, is the perfect setting for hosting a green event, offering collaboration with local artisans from the Paris region to promote eco-friendly consumption. The Campus Serge Kampf les Fontaines, a venue that is unique in France thanks to its combination of accommodation and event spaces, offers a chateau, 60 meeting rooms, 7 villas and 300 bedrooms. It bears the European ecolabel and the ‘Green Star – Gold Tier’ certification of the ISO 14001, and is made up of ecological buildings.
For large-scale events, the Espace Chareton’s Sitexpo is an eco-friendly 3,000 m² building boasting optimized energy management. Easily accessible by public transport, the Espace Charenton also invests in educating staff on sustainable processes. The Pavillon Chesnaie du Roy can host up to 600 people and is stepping up its environmental approach (ISO 14001) to maximize their collectivity commitments and their adaptation to clients’ needs.
Choosing where to stay
Parisian hotels are evolving and adapting to accessibility and environmental issues. Many hotels today are working to make their establishments more sustainable, but there are certain special qualities that you can look for to find the perfect hotel for your green event.
In 2012, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau drew up a Charter ‘For sustainable accommodation in Paris’, which it proposes hotels to help them to increase their sustainable actions. For 3 years, signatories must commit to reducing energy consumption and waste production, educating suppliers and collaborators on good practices and providing better conditions for guests with reduced mobility, among other criteria.
Other charters, standards and labels exist, such as the European ecolabel and Green Key, a private brand present in 57 countries that proposes a frame of reference with around 100 criteria measuring companies’ impact in a range of areas: the environment, the local community, cultural heritage and the local economy.
Out of the 139 establishments that have signed the Charter ‘For sustainable accommodation in Paris’, certain hotels have committed to going further with their approach.
All of Holiday Inn Express’ hotels use the IHG Green Engage system, an innovative tool that lets hotels measure and manage their environmental impact. The Holiday Inn Express Paris–Canal de La Villette boasts a cutting-edge French environmental approach (HQE – Haute Qualité Environnementale); this 144 bedroom hotel by the water in a lively district offers green terraces, quick access to the metro and a Velib’ station.
Among the hotels bearing the Green Key label, several establishments also hold other certifications, such as the Green Globe at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand (470 rooms) and the Hotel du Collectionneur (487 rooms). This hotel also conforms to the ISO 14001, as do the Renaissance Paris La Défense (330 rooms) and the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center (757 rooms). All of these hotels offer spaces that can be booked for green events.
Finally, the newly-renovated Hotel Lutetia (187 rooms and 700 m² of space dedicated to events) has decided to shape its transformation around the BREEAM certification, which aims to reduce the global environmental impact of buildings.
Selecting your caterer
Food plays a very important role for health and the environment. Various initiatives tackle both environmental and social causes through measures such as checks on the origin of products, social and professional integration, reduction of waste, and optimization of transport.
Casual Picnic, a gourmet picnic basket delivery service, brings together authenticity and quality products and can deliver to offices, parks and event venues. They source their products through short food supply chains in cooperation with local farmers and artisans, boast a partnership with ESAT (a French initiative that helps train and employ disabled people) and uses packaging made of recycled, recyclable and reusable materials to provide an eco-friendly service.
High-end caterers Lenôtre Traiteur & Créateur d’événements and Saint Clair Le Traiteur are also committed to environmental and social issues; Lenôtre is certified by the ISO 14001 and Saint Clair adheres to the UN Global Compact.
Thinking about your activities
Whether you’re discovering Paris on two wheels, meeting and learning from passionate artisans or tasting products from small artisans, Paris offers a wide range of eco-friendly activities.
Champagne sellers Dilettantes offer blind tastings and oenology workshops for up to 18 people for a sit-down event or 25 for a cocktail event, with their bottles sourced exclusively from artisanal winemakers. For some authentic French savoir faire, Wecandoo lets clients try out an artistic craft in workshops run by independent artisans. Become a baker, brewer, leather worker or even a cabinet maker in an exclusive session for up to 100 people, and return home with an item made in Paris!
For something more active, Byke&Co offers you and your team their giant pedal cart with 10 riding seats and 4 passenger seats for a unique visit to Paris for up to 14 people, which can also be paired with brunch opposite the Eiffel Tower. Marin d’eau douce offers electric boats for teambuilding activities on the water, including treasure hunts and water rallies with up to 11 people per boat.
Getting to the event
Travel is the main environmental issue when organizing an event. Luckily, the French capital offers one of the most comprehensive transport networks in the world! With numerous metro, bus and train routes, as well as cars, bikes and electric scooters, getting around Paris and its region in an eco-friendly way has never been easier.
The RATP, Paris’ state-owned public transport operator, remains the top provider of eco-friendly transport solutions, with a commitment to saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions. By 2025, 80% of Paris’ buses will be electric, with the remaining 20% running on biogas. The RATP campaigns for a circular economy, the reduction of all pollutants and the protection of biodiversity, as well as the boosting of employment rates and local development. In addition, all of Paris’ buses are accessible to wheelchair users, with access ramps and reserved spaces on board, and at least 70% of the city’s bus stops have a raised pavement.
How to hold a green event in practice
4 tips to help your organize your event! Learn more about it here.