France has long been a pioneer protecting the planet with environmentally friendly practices. Nancy in particular is stepping up on the sustainable scene and emerging as a premier locale for green meetings. The French capital of Art Nouveau — and capital of the Duchy of Lorraine — has made sustainable development one of its core missions, with the city convention bureau, DESTINATION NANCY, working hard to obtain the ISO 20121 certification, which was renewed this year.
It’s not news that events take a heavy toll on our resources, society and the environment, sometimes generating significant waste and occasionally even igniting tensions with local communities. This is how the international standard ISO 20121 was born, guaranteeing best practices in sustainable event management and promoting the motto that every action counts, whether that be tap water vs. plastic bottles or taking public transport instead of private transfers. Thanks to initiatives like ISO 20121, Nancy is now making a name for itself as a responsible business events destination.
The proof sits in the center of the city, where you’ll find the Prouvé Convention Center, which can accommodate up to 2,400 people. A roof comprised of 1,000 sqm of solar panels, bees and honey, a trained staff with an environmentally responsible attitude throughout the entire event process, and an overall policy of sustainable development are just a few of the green credentials to brag about. But take a look at the Nancy Exhibition Centre, with a capacity of 4,900, and you’ll be just as impressed.
The trend toward green initiatives has tricked through the city, with DESTINATION NANCY working hard to combat food waste, earning a Special Sustainable Development award by France Congrès et Evénements last April as a sign of its success. Another area the convention bureau is honing in on is responsible purchasing: 100% of what Nancy sells and buys, whether it be a service or a product, has a CSR component to it. And, for the past three years, DESTINATION NANCY has worked attentively on waste management via a comprehensive food rescue and redistribution programme co-organized with a local association.
All of these elements are placed into a broader context in Nancy’s ‘welcome pack’ (pacte d’accueil) for major events. For associations choosing Nancy for their next conference, they will be hosted by a city and a greater region that places sustainability and care for its people—as well as the environment—at the forefront. In fact, the city developed a whole green ecosystem, or “EcoQuartier,” in 2009 with help from the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Accommodation. In this pedestrian-friendly zone developed around the train station, the quality of life has been significantly improved for residents and visitors like conference attendees.
Next step on the horizon: Nancy aims to become an international green destination like a handful of its French counterparts, working within the confines of a programme launched by France Congrès et Evénements, with the support of Green Evénements and the G7 General Secretariat (only 9 destinations in France are now engaged in this approach). At the rate the city is establishing its green footprint, it’s no doubt Nancy will soon make its presence known around the globe as a hub for green events in Europe.
This piece was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve.. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.