08 Nov A commendable conference
The Paris-Le Bourget site, chosen for its hosting capacity and accessibility, was be transformed for the two weeks of COP21, from 30 November to 11 December 2015, into a genuine temporary and sustainable city of 18 hectares.
The choice of the circular economy
The circular economy is an economic concept that falls within sustainable development and its objective is that of producing goods and services while limiting consumption and waste of raw materials, water and energy sources.
The French government set itself the objective of ensuring maximum quality of life and work for participants, while being exemplary in terms of sustainable development, by reusing, recycling and by using as little energy as possible. And in order to offset the emissions that cannot be reduced at source and to make COP21 a “carbon neutral” event, France will finance one or several projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for an equivalent amount.
The COP21 General Secretariat in charge of preparing and organizing the event, took service providers and partners on board –about fifty companies with public contracts–, who are constructing the site and providing sustainable solutions, under the aegis of a developer. In this manner, the form will reflect the substance in the climate negotiations.
This choice helped to reduce the environmental and mainly carbon footprint with a carbon assessment of 9,2000 tonnes of CO2 and 5,000 tonnes avoided. Therefore, the form reflects the substance of the climate negotiations.
The 3 Rs of COP21
– Reduce (consumption of resources)
– Reuse (products)
– Recycle (waste)
> “R” for Reducing consumption of resources for an intelligent response to energy needs through:
A NEW HIGH PERFORMANCE GAS BOILER (20% LESS CO2)
To avoid using oil-powered electric generators, the “solid” halls were heated via a new gas boiler from the French electric utility company, Engie, which will help to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20% and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 75%.
The temporary structures were heated via highly-effective systems (temperature regulators to keep temperatures at about 19°C, and the latest models of electric fans and convectors). Some generators were planned in the event of an emergency (malfunction or cold snap) to ensure a permanent power supply to certain key areas: they were recent, innovative models, one of which is powered by vegetable oil and solar panels.
PART OF THE LIGHTING POWERED BY WIND TREES
At the main entrance to the conference centre and at the entrance to the Climat Generations areas, a forest of flags had formally invited visitors to enter the venue. At nightfall, they were lit by LEDs powered via a “wind tree”. The Wind Tree by NewWind R&D was a wind-powered system in the form of a stylized tree, whose revolving leaves act as mini wind turbines which keep the generators turning. A generator, with a hybrid wind- and solar-powered system combined three energies: sun, wind, and second generation vegetable oil.
26,000 NAVIGO PASSES DISTRIBUTED TO PARTICIPANTS
Public transport was prioritized and to encourage accredited persons to use it, they were given Navigo passes and RATP hybrid shuttle buses were implemented at the exits of metro and RER stations.
The use of public transport and electric cars by 85% of the participants saved 368 tonnes of CO2e.
80% OF THE FOOD WERE HOMEMADE FROM LOCALLY-SOURCED PRODUCTS
The companies in charge of catering for the conference, Elior and Horeto, have signed a charter on eating responsibly which will involve using short supply chains with local suppliers, seasonal produce, vegetarian dishes, a wide range of GMO-free, organic and/or fair trade products and up to 80% of all food on sale were homemade. More than 235,000 meals were served. As a result, 700 tonnes of CO2e was avoided.
Discover the Charter of Catering Commitments for responsible food services for COP21, its annex and its poster.
PROVISION OF 50 WATER FOUNTAINS AND 36,000 FLASKS TO ELIMINATE 2 MILLION PLASTIC CUPS
As part of a partnership with the public water supply service (SEDIF), tap water were available free of charge to COP21 participants through the provision of about 50 water fountains. This was a first for an event of this magnitude. As the majority of the participants are not used to drinking tap water, a series of communication measures were set up to emphasize the benefits of drinking tap water. 36,000 Gobilab flasks in ecological, bisphenol A-free plastic were provided to all COP21 participants so that they drank tap water from the water fountains and used Ecocups for their hot drinks thus avoiding the production of 2 million disposable cups.
> “R” for Reuse
RENTAL AND SECOND LIFE FOR ALL PRODUCTS
The furniture, structures, material and lighting installed by the developer Décoral Jaulin were all rented. Those which weren’t rented have been donated to local stakeholders (associations, schools, etc.) after the conference. Carpets, wood and palettes, required for the stands and conference halls within the Climate Generations areas, were also reused by the developer. As a result, 1 200 tonnes of CO2e was avoided.
THE PLENARY ROOM BUILT USING 900 TREES FROM THE JURA
See our report on the factory producing the wood: here
25,000 WELCOME BAGS MADE FROM RECYCLED FIBRES
See our report on the factory producing the welcome bags: here.
> “R” for Recycle
100% OF THE PAPER USED IS RECYCLED
The paper that will be used for the stationery, posters, brochures and all other documents were recycled or beared the European Ecolabel. La Poste and its subsidiary Nouvelle Attitude, in conjunction with Arjowiggins Graphic, French producer of recycled paper, provided all the paper.
To implement exemplary management of the waste generated in the organization of and during COP21, a “Zero wastage, zero waste” goal has been set. On-site collection was carried out by electric vehicles and the containers made available were fully recycled.
A FIRST: IMPLEMENTATION OF AN OPTICAL SORTING SYSTEM
For the first time ever at an event of this magnitude, an area measuring 1,000 m2 equipped with an optical sorting system receiveD all the waste and it will be pre-sorted before going to sorting centres. The cleaning and maintenance of the internal and external areas, waste collection and on-site management of the optical pre-sorting system werer carried out by Derichebourg, partner of COP21. 1,000 tonnes of residual resources were sorted for recycling.
SPECIAL CONTAINERS FOR RECYCLING PAPER
La Poste is providing its expertise and experience in terms of innovation in the field of collection and recycling. In this way, paper sorted at source in the special containers provided by La Poste and put in place with electric vehicles, then packaged by the staff of a structure for integration through economic activity, to be recycled in an Arjowiggins Graphic factory just 105 km from the event and 10 tonnes of paper was recycled at the Château-Thierry plant.
RECOVERY OF FOOD WASTE
The recovery of bio-waste from catering was managed by Moulinot Compost & Biogaz: this food waste from catering were collected in hermetic skips and brought to a biogas plant.
While a lot of the non-rented material were donated to local stakeholders after the conference (associations, schools, etc.), the same applied for unsold foodstuffs on the site: in partnership with the association “Chaînon manquant”, any unconsumed food products was distributed during both the assembly phase and for the duration of the conference. A total of 7 tonnes of food and 15,000 meals were redistributed to 5,000 beneficiaries and 15 Seine-Saint-Denis associations.
DECORATION WITH RECYCLED ELEMENTS
Plantations Bio, a French company that has developed exemplary methods based on ecosystem and garden dynamics, and “landscape reforestation” (recycling of branches to produce new, innovative and 100% natural biomass fuels), designed and created the central garden of the conference centre. This garden was given to Dugny municipalities (public garden) and Bourget (educational garden).
COP21: ISO 20121 CERTIFIED
This international standard aims to help people to organize events in such a manner that they respect the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic.
The ISO standard certifies the responsible management system and learns to integrate sustainable development into all stages of preparation and all throughout the supply chain; it is useful to organizers, service providers, partners and participants.
This certification, which is attested by Bureau Veritas, is a first for an event of this magnitude: for the first time ever, a State and UN Climate Conference will be ISO 20121 certified (further information). The ISO standard therefore meets the objectives that France has set itself and that guide the sustainable development policy of COP21. These include:
1) Guaranteeing a quality welcome (catering, transport, work rooms)
2) Fostering responsible innovation
3) Limiting the ecological footprint (promoting the circular economy, aiming for a carbon neutral event).
4) Leaving a strong legacy for local communities and for the organizers of future COP meetings and the organization of future major national and international events in France.
This certification will represent a strong legacy for the organizers of future COP meetings and for the French events industry. The COP21 General Secretariat will ensure this continuity via a best practices guide for the organization of future events.
Following the 3Rs of COP21, 400 tonnes of waste was reduced, 93% of products were reused and 70% of waste was recycled.