LMC: "Society has Taken a Covid 'Free-time' to Reflect on Work and Consumption Habits"

12th May, 2023

© Lausanne Capitale Olympique

The Lausanne Montreux Congress (LMC) - the joint business tourism promotion structure of Lausanne Tourisme and Montreux-Vevey Tourisme - recently presented its "LMCare 2025", a global strategy to improve the region's performance in terms of sustainable tourism. For its part, the national Swisstainable programme, launched in 2021 by Switzerland Tourism, aims to highlight the efforts made by tourism partners in all cantons in terms of sustainability, performance assessment and regulations.

The LMC wishes to make the Lake Geneva region known as a unifying destination in terms of this agenda, setting itself the goal of becoming one of the 10 most sustainable business destinations in the world. And the ambition is clear for Lausanne and Montreux: to actively contribute to Switzerland's leadership towards more responsible, out-of-the-box and innovative meetings and events.

With the launch of its “LMCare 2025” strategy, LMC now wants to strengthen its performance to develop a responsible destination that brings value to its people, the environment and local business, “LMCare 2025” is structured around four major axes: governance and partnership management; transition to a virtuous and regenerative economy; environmental protection and social cohesion; and communication of actions undertaken.

For this latest May issue, "Regeneration through Circularity", we have prepared an exclusive interview with several Swiss stakeholders and authorities on how the Swisstainable programme is being viewed and applied in the different regions and venues. One of these protagonists was Olivier Mathieu, Congress, meetings & sustainability manager of the Congress of Lausanne Montreux in Switzerland, who left us these notes below as a teaser for the story you can read here:

1) How will the Swisstainable programme impact your events environment and the wider MICE ecosystem? How do you intend to put your MICE event and strategy on a sustainable footing?

Olivier Mathieu: Since Swisstainable recognises over 70 sustainable labels and programmes relevant to our sector, each stakeholder can find the right label as not everyone goes all the way. The programme is free and inclusive, and even those who are at the beginning of the path are eligible, provided they can justify their actions of course. This explains the differences in levels from "committed" to "engaged" to "leading", independently monitored by the Swiss Tourism Federation.

When it comes to sustainability, industry professionals are aware that it is not too early to inform customers about the certification of their products, services and infrastructure. The Olympic Capital of Lausanne and its main regional partners (cf. LMCare Green Team) were naturally pleased with this initiative, as it corresponds in every respect to our LMCare 2025 strategy, which aims to encourage partners to start or continue their efforts towards more responsible and virtuous tourism and events.

What is interesting and unique about our LMCare sustainability strategy is that it has taken into account the views and expectations of our MICE stakeholders from the outset. Business tourism and events are therefore fully integrated in our vision and objectives, due to the fully systemic and transversal dimension of sustainability in the region. In less than 2 years, no fewer than 1,700 partners have joined Swisstainable, 170 of which in the canton of Vaud alone, whose capital is Lausanne (i.e. 10%). As business tourism accounts for over 50% of visits to our destination, the actions of Swisstainable and LMCare are perfectly synchronised to actively accompany the transformation of our offer.

Lausanne © Lausanne Capitale Olympique

2) How have your convention centers, venues, agencies and DMC partners responded to the pandemic crisis with sustainability in mind? What role did the Lausanne and the wider region play in certifying these partners and what transformation did they bring about?

OM: OM: Paradoxically, the COVID years had a very positive impact on our partners' commitment to sustainability, with two camps standing out: those who were already committed and took advantage of the recession to strengthen their activities, and others who were mainly trying to survive without much resources to commit.

Tourism and congresses are important for the local economy and the financial support of the authorities during the pandemic was obviously crucial to save our sector. Despite the traumatic economic and social impact of the COVID years, society took advantage of the forced "free time" to reflect on the meaning of work and consumption habits. It is clear that the phenomenon had already begun to evolve strongly before 2020, but it is clear that this global health crisis has given a boost to customer expectations, particularly in terms of private and professional travel and events.

The existence of an LMCare Taskforce of hospitality and sustainability experts from our territory was clearly an advantage during this health crisis. It has since grown and helped us establish our activation strategy at the sustainability level. As far as the MICE players are concerned, they too are seeking to integrate these issues because sustainability knows no boundaries between leisure and business customers. Among the best practices, we can mention the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative of the JMIC Joint Meetings Industry Council, and its partners IMEX Group and IBTM World. The Swiss MCI, Dorier and SwissTech Convention Centre have also joined this initiative to address climate change.

Montreux © Lausanne Capitale Olympique

3) Within its framework, how does Lausanne define and coexist with these three faces of sustainability – environmental, social and economic? What kind of social legacy do you want to leave for the country in terms of meetings and events?

OM: While it is often difficult to find key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to sustainability in our industry, and in particular to assess progress on social and societal aspects - not just economic and environmental aspects - the Swisstainable programme plays a real role in encouraging partners to start a process of labelling, or simple initial sustainability measures. Not all conference centres and conference hotels in the destination have joined the programme yet, but all DMOs are actively and long-term working to raise awareness and convince partners to take the leap. 
Customer expectations are constantly evolving. If we look, for example, at accessibility, which is an important selection criterion, they already consider only travel times, but also the performance of public transport or whether access is compatible for people with reduced mobility. In this respect, Lausanne and Montreux even offer a free transport card to visitors. Our caterers and restaurants have been offering more local and healthy food, seeking to reduce waste. The use of disposable products and consumables is decreasing or even being limited, thanks also to pressure from our major international schools, such as UNIL (University of Lausanne), EPFL (Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne) or EHL (Hotel and Management School of Lausanne), which host many academic and scientific events. 
Many of our facilities use water from Lake Geneva to regulate the temperature and are self-sufficient in terms of photovoltaic or geothermal energy. Swisstainable and LMCare are long-term initiatives. And if we look at them from a coldly marketing point of view, our consensus is unanimous: sowing well today is certainly better for reaping tomorrow.




The HQ Magazine May #109 is now live, bringing you some of the latest updates from the world of associations and the most interesting stories from the events industry.

From Net Zero Carbon, to urban cohesion around social impacts, to the circular economy, associations have been stellar and instrumental in creating awareness, shaping policy and mobilising public action around #sustainability.

Check out and download the issue here





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