Les Canaux: promoting sustainability in sporting events

Although events are short-lived or one-off occasions, they call for considerable logistics and generate significant volumes of waste from visitor catering, venue design, goodies, etc.

To create a more responsible form of event management organisers must find solutions to a number of obstacles: How can you make waste bins visible and attractive? What logistical set-up can be envisaged when visitors are present? How do you make waste sorting fun? How can safety requirements be reconciled with waste management issues? etc.

Preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is an opportunity to shed light on the challenges and existing solutions of the sector. Amongst these, many are provided by businesses involved in the Social and Solidarity Economy. Les Canaux, the Maison des Economies Solidaires et Innovantes (Center for inclusive and innovative economies) is working on these issues, with the support of Paris 2024 and SOLIDEO (Société de Livraison des Ouvrages Olympiques, the company responsible for Olympic facilities). Working in conjunction with the Yunus Centre, the association has set up ESS 2024: a digital platform supporting players from the Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS), who are helping to create “inclusive and solidarity-based Games”, by informing, uniting and supporting ESS organisations as they bid for Olympic and Paralympic markets and gain economic benefits.


Elise Dupire, ESS 2024 Communications Officer at Les Canaux, explains the issues and challenges.

What do you mean by "inclusive and solidarity-based Games"?

Olympic and Paralympic Games that promote new innovative solutions in economic, social and environmental matters. Games that boost long-term economic development both for the regions and for employment, and that provide opportunities for people trying to enter the job market and for people with disabilities.


This ambition for Paris 2024 materialised during the bid phase when a cooperation agreement was signed by Paris 2024, Solideo, Les Canaux and the Yunus Centre, leading to the launch of ESS 2024. The role of this platform for solidarity is to inform, mobilise and support all ESS players, with a view to creating long-term job opportunities on a large scale, helping vulnerable people find work, and developing the local economic fabric by providing support for social entrepreneurship initiatives.

ESS 2024 also aims to develop practical solutions to communicate the principles of a positive, committed and sustainable economy in all the initiatives launched by the organisers of the Olympic Games, in order to boost innovation and its social and environmental impacts.

How do you reconcile the issue of waste management with the Social and Solidarity Economy?

In our team, we have people who are responsible for carrying out impact studies, in other words deliverables that source and promote ESS solutions. To carry out these studies, we arrange multi-player meetings, with ESS organisations, local authorities and contracting authorities.

The impact study on worksite waste management has helped us work together to think up innovative, solidarity-based solutions in terms of organisation, logistics, insurance, waste storage and recycling platforms, and the use of biosourced materials. In September, we will be presenting this deliverable to organisers of the Games and to the contracting authorities so they can integrate these solutions prior to drafting their specifications. We will be carrying out other studies, including into waste management and Olympic and Paralympic site operations.

Are there any specific challenges related to sporting events and activities?

In the case of the Paris 2024 Games, we have to meet the requirements of an international event that hosts some 15,000 athletes and over 13 million spectators. ESS organisations do not necessarily have the capacity to meet such high volumes. For example, when it comes to catering, we can find competent ESS caterers but they are not all able to supply 70,000 meals a day. So we have huge challenges relating to volume, which can only be met by creating consortiums of different players.

In your opinion, what are the levers or good practices to improve the sector’s sustainability?

To improve the sustainability of the event management sector, we need to build a federating environment in which ESS players and organisations can get together. The ESS has a lot of people brimming with ideas but they need structure. We have to make sure that actions are all focused on the same event.

The Paris 2024 Games are a focal point for ESS businesses to plan for the future together, as a network, but also to shuffle things around within their own companies. Some want to scale up in preparation for the Games. Our role is also to encourage partnerships between the ESS and large groups, for example to create social joint ventures. We are highlighting possible forms of cooperation and partnership between, on the one hand, large groups and ESS businesses and, on the other, local authorities and ESS businesses.

Finally, the Paris 2024 Games provide the opportunity to showcase the ESS ecosystem as an example for everyone.



If you would like to get involved in these circular Games, please contact Les Canaux. And to get involved in an accessible and responsible waste management approach, take a look at the “Tackling waste in events and tourism” toolbox created by Future of Waste*!

Created with the help of players from the sector, the Toolbox is constantly enhanced by members of the community through a database of solution and reference providers. If you would like to share your feedback or first-hand accounts, please contact us at futureofwaste@makesense.org


A comment is required