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In 2024, Paris will host the Summer Olympics and aim to redefine sustainability in global sports. With ambitious plans to stage the greenest games ever, Paris sets a new benchmark that could influence future international events. The city’s commitment is clear: deliver a carbon-neutral event that leaves a lasting positive impact on the planet and its people.

Revolutionary Opening: A Boat Parade on the Seine

For the first time in Olympic history, the opening ceremony on July 26, 2024, will eschew the traditional stadium setting. Instead, athletes and spectators will enjoy a spectacular boat parade along the Seine. This innovative approach is expected to draw around 400,000 spectators, turning the river into a floating global unity and celebration stage. It’s a powerful symbol of Paris’s commitment to sustainability, making the event accessible while minimizing crowd-related carbon footprints.

Carbon Neutrality: Lessons from Tokyo, Vision for Paris

Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics aimed for carbon neutrality, a goal partially achieved due to reduced visitor numbers amidst the pandemic. While Tokyo managed to offset 1.96 million tons of CO2, Paris targets a more ambitious cap of 1.58 million tons. The plan includes significant measures: using existing venues to avoid new construction, promoting public transport, and harnessing renewable energy. Furthermore, initiatives like installing drinking fountains and reducing single-use plastics by 50% are steps towards Paris’s goal of a “climate neutral” Olympics.

Sustainable Infrastructure and Localized Catering

Paris 2024’s strategy extends beyond reducing carbon emissions. Approximately 95% of the venues are pre-existing structures, and the games will promote short travel distances between them. This preserves environmental and architectural integrity and enhances the spectator experience. Catering at these venues will focus on local products with a low meat content, showcasing France’s rich culinary heritage while supporting local agriculture and reducing the event’s overall carbon footprint.

Swimming in the Seine: A Bold Move Towards Cleaner Waters

Perhaps the most audacious of Paris’s eco-initiatives is the plan to hold open-water swimming and triathlon events in the Seine. After a failed cleanliness test in 2023, efforts have doubled; by March 2024, the river was deemed swimmable. This endeavour not only serves the Olympics but stands as a testament to Paris’s long-term commitment to environmental restoration, aiming to transform the Seine into a recreational asset for residents and tourists alike.

Engaging Visitors in Sustainability

Beyond infrastructural innovations, Paris is focusing on visitor engagement to promote sustainability. The Green Spirit Hotels in Paris, part of the Green Pearls® hotels, encourage guests to minimize their carbon footprints by opting for public transport and staying within walking distance of major venues and attractions. Barbara Tascijevic-Porwoll, owner of the Green Spirit Hotels, shares insider tips for an eco-friendly stay—from shopping at local markets to enjoying vegetarian delights at the renowned Polichinelle.

Cultural and Recreational Sustainability

Barbara’s suggestions for visitors include exploring the REcyclerie, a cultural hub on a repurposed railway track that promotes organic gardening and sustainability. The Saint-Ouen flea market also offers a treasure trove of vintage and second-hand goods, providing a sustainable shopping experience. For those seeking active leisure, the Ile aux Cygnes and the banks of the Seine offer scenic spots for jogging and outdoor workouts, aligned with the city’s vision of a sustainable, active community.

Looking Ahead: A Model for Future Olympics

As Paris gears up to host the 2024 Olympics, its comprehensive approach to sustainability could set a new standard for future international events. By integrating eco-friendly practices into every aspect of the Games, from infrastructure to visitor engagement, Paris is not just hosting a sporting event; it’s inspiring a global movement towards sustainability in sports.

In sum, the Paris 2024 Olympics promises to be more than just a display of athletic prowess; it’s a pioneering showcase of environmental responsibility, urban innovation, and community involvement. As the world watches, Paris is poised to deliver an unforgettable, transformative Olympic experience that could very well change the way we think about and conduct global sporting events in an era of ecological awareness.




Written by: My Thanh Pham