For several years, the Opéra de Lyon has been committed to a process of environmental transition and community development to contribute to sustainable development and inclusivity in cultural activities.
To this end, the teams have spared no effort to bring their working practices and processes in line with their values and artistic missions.
Since 2008, the Opéra de Lyon has been committed to reducing its environmental impact thanks to the support of the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME).
Several environmental projects have been launched, including more sustainable set designing and better energy ratings for the buildings. The opera recently updated its carbon footprint, taking yet another step towards the creation and implementation of a new eco-policy for the years to come. The opera wishes to not only comply with the Paris Agreement but to also fight for more corporate social responsibility.
The technical teams of the opera try, as far as possible, to reuse parts of existing sets. They design, make or buy standard elements that can be reused and easily adaptable modular pieces that do not take up much room.
In 2019, the Opéra de Lyon developed an assessment and decision-making tool (EDEOS) which compares the environmental impacts of decors depending on building and material choices. The Opéra applies this eco-friendly policy to its entire ecosystem (since 2014, all of its creation contracts have had environmental clauses) and it fosters other group initiatives.
In 2022, the opera became one of the sponsors of a project that includes members of the 17h25 collective like the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Opéra de Paris and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaire in Brussels. They work together to standardise structural set-design elements. Reducing the carbon footprint of the production and transportation of the sets is the key objective of this unique research project. The project will unfold over the next three years, with four key stages: a sectoral analysis of practices, a design and prototyping phase, a production launch of the elements designed and selected, and a general assessment of the overall approach. This operation is sponsored by the State within the framework of a scheme aimed at promoting green solutions in the cultural world and supported by the France 2030 Cultural and Creative Industries operated by the Banque des territoires – Caisse des Dépôts.
Moreover, the Opéra de Lyon has been involved in a cultural recycling project headed by the City of Lyon.
The Opéra de Lyon also keeps the environment in mind in its daily operations through an energy performance contract which has brought it in line with existing legislation in 2022, with a 40% decline in electricity demand compared with 2010 (benchmark year) and the implementation of a plan to reduce excess packaging and improve the collection, treatment and disposal of waste.
Mobility, for both audiences and artists, is a major issue these days. It calls for a collective reflection on how accessible cultural venues and events are (public transport, active mobility, types of transport used…).
After setting up a ridesharing programme more than ten years ago, the Opéra de Lyon has been trying to get an even better grasp of what is at stake thanks to a study conducted among spectators who visited the opera between January and June 2022. This survey helps reduce the carbon footprint of spectators travelling to the opera and it highlights new areas to investigate, like the parking of bicycles, the frequency, timetables and coverage of the public transport networks and the parking of vehicles in cases of ridesharing. It also leads to a reflection on situations that require the use of a car and their impact (in terms of ecology, spending and accessibility).
In this respect, the Opéra de Lyon has teamed up with various transport operators: car parks, the TCL public transportation company and the Lyon Metropolis. It is involved in fostering a dialogue between all cultural facilities on the territory to bring about new areas for collective development.
The Opéra de Lyon is upgrading its purchasing policy in accordance with eco-responsible public service policies. For instance, it now specifies expected environmental constraints in government procurement contract clauses. The choice of raw materials will also be integrated into this discussion, considering the diversity of crafts and needs of the opera, from its main activity – producing shows for the stage – to its other missions, such as offering food to the audience, etc.
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