Lyon’s remarkable commitment to sustainability has earned it a prominent position on the global stage. Last year, Lyon ranked second in France in (and 13th globally) in the prestigious Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS), a pioneering program designed to assess and benchmark the sustainability strategies and performance of cities as conference destinations.
“is achievement hardly comes as a surprise when you consider the city’s extensive repertoire of sustainable ventures in recent years. “e Lyon airport, for instance, achieved carbon-neutral sta- tus in 2017, reflecting its steadfast dedication to environmental responsibility. Moreover, numerous hotels throughout the city have garnered recognition for their sustainability endeavors, holding certificates from well-established labels.
In fact, it’s the whole French event sector that has undergone a significant transformation, with convention centres now subject to stringent environmental regulations aimed at reducing their ecological footprint. “ese regulations encompass waste manage- ment, energy consumption and water management initiatives.
In this regard, the Lyon Convention Centre has earned the pres- tigious ISO 20121 certification – like ONLYLYON Tourism & Conventions – a globally recognized standard for sustainable event management that underscores the Centre’s commitment to promoting responsible consumption and provides compre- hensive guidelines to minimize the impacts of events altogether. Meanwhile, La Cité Internationale, an architectural masterpiece envisioned by Renzo Piano, boasts equally impressive eco-friendly credentials. “e venue, for instance, employs an innovative central- ized watering system, enabling the efficient collection and reuse of rainwater to nurture its sprawling 2,000-square-meter gardens.
Lyon Convention Bureau has commissioned two CSR audits, aimed to evaluate the sustainability practices employed dur- ing various business events. “e primary objective is to identify barriers that hinder the implementation of sustainable actions and, subsequently, find solutions to support the chain of service providers in embracing sustainability. Importantly, these solutions are designed to be cost-effective for conferences, ensuring they remain within budgetary constraints.
In practice, this o$en requires making choices, such as opting for local materials, eschewing non-local promotional items, and minimizing excessive packaging for meals. Emphasizing the use of local suppliers for all purchases and the redistribution of surplus food to charitable organizations are also pivotal aspects of Lyon’s sustainable approach.
Transportation remains a significant contributor to carbon foot- prints, especially concerning arrivals at the event destination. In response, Lyon has positioned itself as a leader in public transpor- tation in France, boasting the second-largest public transport net- work in the country. Additionally, the city offers a network of bicycle stations, with five located conveniently near the convention centre.
“Looking ahead, there’s hope that conference participants who travel by train may enjoy more favorable registration rates, provided they can fur- nish adequate documentation of their mode of transportation to event organizers,” says Valérie Ducaud, manager of Lyon Convention Bureau. “Although this concept has been discussed, its full realization remains to be seen”. Nevertheless, Lyon is setting an inspiring exam- ple for cities aiming to host sustainable conferences, fostering a culture of responsible and eco-conscious event planning.