A Principality’s Path towards a Carbon-Neutral Future

23rd September 2022

The extreme heatwaves of the summer of 2022 have convinced all but the most hardened sceptics of the reality of climate change. Associations planners are all too aware of these fraught circumstances and the impacts and footprints implied when seeking potential conference destinations – like the Principality of Monaco who has committed to being carbon-neutral by 2050 . It is now a responsibility, not only to the association and its members, but to all who inhabit our biosphere, to choose wisely and tread lightly.

Words Marc de Faoite

Long a favoured conference destination, Monaco has been at the forefront of supporting and promoting climate science for many years. And it walks the talk as well, taking concrete actions to reduce its environmental impact. Sustainable development is firmly at the heart of its policies and planning. Now Monaco is betting on its sustainable credentials to develop its conference sector in a responsible manner, supporting conferences by giving them the benefit of a low-impact infrastructure… and even a CSR positive impact.

At the forefront

Keeping in tone with its inherent dynamism Monaco was at the forefront of the early adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Rather than simply letting the market lead, the princely Government has ensured that the necessary infrastructure has been put in place. It is now estimated that the majority of Monegasques live within 250 metres of a charging station. Not only that, the new ‘MONACO ON’ charging stations now offer faster charging speeds at zero cost to users. All these amenities make Monaco an attractive prospect for conference goers who have already gone electric.

But it isn’t necessary to come with your own EV. Public transport is witnessing a similar shift towards electrification. Since July 2022 an initiative between different stakeholders has seen 30 new fully-electric taxi cabs take to the streets and roads of the principality, with 8,000 trips made during an initial trial period, making it possible for anyone attending events in Monaco to travel cleanly and efficiently.

Meanwhile the CAM (Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco) operates 45 buses, of which almost half are hybrid, leading to a reduction of 50% in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, eight of the buses are fully electric, having been added to the fleet in March 2022 and inaugurated by Prince Albert II. Theses electric buses allow conference attendees to explore the Principality without putting unnecessary CO2 into the atmosphere. As older buses are retired, they will be progressively replaced with new electric buses, with the entire network set to be 100% electric by 2025. 

Transport represents 30% of Monaco’s total greenhouse gas emissions (GGE), so it makes sense to use newly available technologies, but important as the electrification of transport is in terms mitigating climate change Monaco also offers potential conference-goers an even more eco-friendly and traditional way of getting around – walking. Many of Monaco’s top hotels including the Meridien, the Fairmont, or the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel just to name a few, are just a pleasant five-minute zero-carbon stroll along the scenic seafront from the Grimaldi Forum congress centre, the Principality’s purpose-built conference venue.

Broader & deeper

Monaco’s commitments towards systemic climate action are much broader and deeper than transport and mobility. In 2015, the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) chose Monaco to hold its 41st session, during which the Prince Albert II Foundation and the government of Monaco supported an initiative that eventually led to the publication of the IPCC Special report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. In 2019, the report, the fruit of an international collaboration of 100 authors from 36 countries, which was unveiled at Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum, incidentally a favoured down-time destination for conference-goers to unwind.

The Grimaldi Forum Monaco conference centre is committed to environmental excellence, having successfully qualified for the ISO14001 label since 2008, which sets out a stringent framework of criteria for environmental management. In its application to the Grimaldi Forum, a particular focus has been placed on waste management and lighting. 86% of the building’s 18,000 light bulbs have been replaced with LED lights, which has created a saving of energy consumption of 35%, amounting to several million kilowatts per hours. Meanwhile, thanks to revised policies, water used by visitors to the convention centre has been cut in half. 

By choosing this venue, associations can reassure their environmentally-conscious delegates and lower the carbon budget of their conferences.

By using these facilities associations can reassure their environmentally-conscious delegates and lower the carbon budget of their conferences.

All work and no play makes for a dull conference. Networking and team-building often happen in informal settings. There is plenty of activities and a lot for conference attendees to discover in Monaco’s coastal waters. Whether out on the waves, or below the surface, it is possible to explore by boat the rich sea-life diversity of Pelagos sancturary – a designated protected area whose plankton-rich waters regularly receive summer visits from several species of whales, as well as being home all year round to at least three different types of dolphins.

Monaco Convention Bureau allows associations to make the most of their conference while minimising their carbon-budget. For a cleaner greener convention this year and beyond, Monaco, as a destination that specializes in excellence, should definitely be on your list.

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