Published on June 20, 2023Updated on June 28, 2023
In spring 2023, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer organised a major conference about tourism and the environment. Learn about the Resort’s actions and what more can be done.
“People think that if sea levels rise a few centimetres, it will only affect ice fields and polar bears, a long way from us, but they’re wrong. It will affect our lifestyles, our security and our habitats.” This was how moderator Leila Gandhi, herself committed to protecting the environment, launched the “The Sea Is Green” conference and debate, which took place on 22 March 2023 at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, during Monaco Ocean Week. The morning, organised by Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, was attended by large numbers including the group’s managers, its partners and institutions involved in promoting green tourism in Monaco.
Photo: Leila Gandhi
For more than 18 years, the Resort has acted to protect the environment, in particular with the introduction of its sustainable development policy and the signing of its fourth Sustainable Development Charter, which lays out an action plan for 2022-2026. The goals it has set itself include controlling risks of soil and seawater contamination, conserving potable water resources and limiting consumption, protecting and preserving its natural and plant heritage, supporting and carrying out projects that have a positive impact on biodiversity, and reducing the effects of greenhouse gases. Embodying sustainable tourism means questioning what you do each and every day. If our aim is to protect the planet and living things, can the customer always be king? Is there time to wait until we all understand the issues, or do we need to show our guests, helping, encouraging or even forcing them to make changes? These were some of the questions that were central to the event, which gave participants the opportunity to take stock of the concrete actions already carried out in Monaco and find ways forward for the future.
Five guests, each committed to protecting the environment, took part in rich debates with the many other speakers present: the free diver and conference ambassador Pierre Frolla, the head of CSR at the Tourist and Convention Authority, Estelle Antognelli, the external auditor for the Green Globe label, Guillaume Bereau, the researcher and head of the Monaco Scientific Center, Denis Allemand, and the journalist Anne Eveillard, who specialises in sustainable hospitality.
Heat pumps, solar panels, transmitting eco-friendly actions, making use of cigarette ends, recycling soaps, upcycling cut hair, reducing water consumption, fighting plastic pollution, sustainable gastronomy, Green Globe certification, the Sustainable Development Charter, responsible fishing, the protection of biodiversity, raising awareness among customers, the Monte-Carlo experience, the sustainable tourism white paper, the carbon calculator, collective and individual responsibility.
It is clear that unlimited pleasure and limited resources are fundamental opposites. “A customer who comes to a luxury hotel in 2023 wants a bespoke experience. If we take this to its extreme, it is very difficult to say to someone that no, you can’t give roses in the middle of December,” says journalist Anne Eveillard. However, what the principality, which has the skills required to react quickly, can offer its customers is a virtuous model, an ethical experience, because living in a way that respects the environment is the height of luxury. While a collective effort must be made, the future of tourism also relies on individual responsibility.
Pierre Frolla concludes: “At the Academy I teach young people, who are much more sensitive to the living world than their elders and want to find technological solutions to improve things. We now have to meet their expectations. With this in mind, saying no is in some ways a first step, but in fact what we want is for people to come to Monaco precisely for these reasons, that we will never again have to reply that no, of course you can’t eat strawberries in winter! For them to visit Monaco because we offer them a solution, as we have an ecosystem of solidarity where short supply chains for fishing, a sustainable economy and growing produce ourselves as much as possible are important, and for each person to do as much as they can.”
See the short film produced at the conference: