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Paris is gearing up to welcome over 15 million visitors for the Olympics this year, and our corporate travel data shows that flights into the city have skyrocketed, more than tripling compared to last year. Even with just under a month to go, people are still scrambling to secure accommodation and event tickets.  

Attendees are jetting in from all corners of the globe for business travel, sponsorship, leisure, competition, training, and, of course, bleisure. But beyond the excitement of sports, gold medals, and Olympic fever, Paris 2024 hopes to raise the bar for sustainable practices. They're not just aiming for gold medals; they're striving to be the most sustainable Olympics and demonstrating practices that the corporate travel industry can lean into. 

Here’s what business travel can learn from Paris 2024’s goals for a greener future. 

Manage carbon emissions

Paris 2024 goals: 

Previous Olympic Games have emitted an average of 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 (that we know of). Paris 2024 aims to cut this by 50%. They aim to achieve this by reducing its carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. Through embracing 100% renewable energy and low-carbon materials, integrating all venues into a solar grid, and scoring extra points by managing carbon offsets through clever projects. 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

Corporate travel sustainability can mirror these ambitious goals. Start by measuring and reducing travel-related carbon emissions, investing in renewable energy solutions for buildings and vehicles, and supporting carbon mitigation programs. 

Building and transport

Paris 2024 goals: 

Paris is going all out on sustainable infrastructure. From solar-powered, eco-friendly venues to an Athletes Village decked out in recycled materials. Plus, they’re including more hybrid public transport options into the fleet and making space for additional walking and cycling amenities. 95% of existing venues are being used to minimise new infrastructure, 80% of venues are within 10km of the Athletes Village, and 100% of sporting venues are connected to public transport. Paris is setting a high bar. 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

Take a leaf out of Paris's book by promoting sustainable transportation options among travellers, like trains, electric vehicles, and public transport. Include eco-friendly hotels in your travel policy options and encourage, or incentivise the use of them. Many hotels and venues already have great green initiatives and can be allies in your sustainability journey. 

Reduce waste

Paris 2024 goals: 

Paris is ready to dish out 13 million meals and snacks during the Olympics, but it’s not playing games when it comes to food sourcing waste reduction. The game plan includes extensive recycling programs and championing a circular economy. Say goodbye to single-use plastics, and hello to reusable and recyclable materials. Plus, serving up more plant-based food, up to 60% to be exact. 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

Embrace waste reduction and smart food choices by weaving strategies into your travel programs. Business travellers can opt for digital tickets, ditch single-use plastics (hello, refillable water bottle!), and go for accommodation with fool-proof recycling programs. 

Partner wisely

Paris 2024 goals: 

Paris Olympics is rallying all stakeholders—athletes, spectators, suppliers, partners and sponsors—around their sustainability goals. They’re all about education and participation. Teaming up with caterers serving plant-based, seasonal, and local food, holding suppliers accountable for materials getting a second life, and partnering with rental companies for temporary infrastructure 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

Engage your employees and partners in your sustainability initiatives. Provide training on sustainable travel practices and highlight the importance of reducing environmental impact. Offer incentives for employees who opt for eco-friendly travel options and share success stories to inspire others. 

Get tech savy


Paris 2024 goals: 

Paris is pulling out all the stops with game-changing tech. Think smart buildings, energy-efficient systems, and wrap around event apps to streamline operations and minimise physical materials. 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

Adopt travel management software to monitor and reduce carbon emissions, apps that encourage paper-free travel choices, and leverage virtual conferencing tools to cut down on physical travel (if possible). 

Walk the talk

Paris 2024 goals: 

Paris's international Olympic committee is trying hard to maintain transparency. They're sharing their sustainability goals and progress openly, and holding themselves accountable to the world watching. 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

Be transparent with your sustainability efforts. Set clear goals, track progress, and report achievements. Accountability keeps sustainability at the forefront and drives continuous improvement amongst business travellers.  

Start with a plan


Paris 2024 goals: 

Paris has had a plan for sustainability from the start. The International Olympic Committee appears committed to its goals. Early on, they calculated the Games "material footprint" (a first in Olympic history) and mapped out resources venue by venue. From venues and seating to tennis balls, every detail is accounted for to minimise and control the materials lifecycle before, during, and after the Games. 

Lessons for corporate travel: 

For business travel, this is no different – set clear, achievable goals and try sticking to them. It could be saying yes to tech, committing to minimal single-use plastics, reducing travel trips and opting for virtual meetings or staying in one spot longer. Whatever they may be, make a plan from the start

From our expert

Glenn Thorsen, Global Sustainability Lead, FCM Consulting weighs in on Paris 2024 ambitions and what this means for corporate travel.  

"Large, global and culturally significant events such as the Olympics (sporting world cups and concerts are other great examples) are huge opportunities for sustainability in travel. 

These events are very visible to many of us in a personal context. They have large sponsorship communities that have a strong professional alignment with many of our corporate travel programs. Through events such as these, public commitments and transparent strategies are created and executed, and many of us can see the true extent of how sustainability can be integrated into the world of corporate travel. 

A 50% reduction, as the Paris Olympic Committee targets, is a very commendable and ambitious target. It may well exceed or align with many Science Based Target's commitments to global corporate travel programs in line with their own organisational commitments. This ambition allows corporate travel programs to learn from a transparent and highly respected organisation, that is in a unique position to strive for reductions that we may not always see as the first line of opportunity. 

As public events and organisations such as the Olympics will ultimately be held to a higher standard, it has the opportunity to invest more aggressively in achieving these goals for the broader public good. Serving as inspiration for other industries (such as corporate travel) to follow, with the confidence that there is evidence of the opportunity to be successful in these ambitions." 

Some final thoughts

Undoubtedly, hosting the Olympics comes with significant environmental hurdles, and managing events of this magnitude is always a test for sustainability. Some argue that travel is no different. With sustainability as a key pillar of success, Paris 2024 is not just talking about these obstacles; it's striving to set a new standard for future Olympic Games, and getting a lot of attention for it. Your corporate travel program could follow suit. 

Other organisations are even jumping on the movement. For instance, Air France has committed to matching customers' voluntary contributions to its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) fund during the European summer, coinciding with Paris 2024. 

Ready to up your corporate travel game? Parlons!