In Cannes, during May, the city triples its population. But what lies beneath the red carpet of Cannes Film Festival, the most famous French Riviera event?

You are currently in Cannes for the festival? Or simply overwhelmed by the quantity of articles talking about the Cannes Film Festival? So yes, you probably heard of the latex dress worn by Beyoncé or Julia Roberts climbing the 24 steps of the red carpet barefoot . But did you know that behind the glitter of Cannes is hiding a monster of waste?

It took until 2012, after the release of the video broadcast by the Collectif Méditerranée en danger to highlight the bad ecological practices of Cannes Film Festival. This was followed by the documentary Super Trash from Martin Esposito and the petition from Greenpride launching its campaign “So that the Cinema symbol doesn’t become the symbol of waste”. And finally things started to move.

The red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival is turning green

During the Festival, it’s more than 1,200 tons of additional waste not to mention the red carpet (its total surface measures about 200m2) changed 3 times a day during 11 days! About the size of one of the Solomon islands that has recently been engulfed by the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean. This also represents a little more than a football stadium.

Tons of waste and celebrities parading in designer dresses certainly made of materials from countries where there is no control over their production. Not to mention the tripling of Cannes population during the event and the carbon footprint also tripled due to the use of many more vehicles including SUVs, sedans, limousines,  vehicles consuming enormous quantities of fuel.

If we had to rate Cannes Festival for its environmental practices for the last years it would have certaintly received the Golden Palm of the least ecological event of the French Riviera. But finally things some things started to evolve recently.

cannes film festival celebrities ecologiical environment

Until the rise of awareness in 2012, since the bad press introduced a relatively negative reputation on the management of this symbolic cinema event during which the stars are parading, some of them being environment partisans and eco-activists like Marion Cotillard and Natalie Portman. So, media pressure forced the Cannes Film Festival to slowly go green.

When the media pressure plays its role

This year, Cannes has set up compacting bins powered by solar energy, which will limit the number of garbage trucks and misplaced trash often ending up in the sea. Since 2012, the Cannes Film Festival  uses a 100% recyclable rug and although it is changed 3 times a day,  it no longer ends its life lin the landfill but at the manufacturer for recycling. Similarly, the Palme d’Or is now made of sustainable gold.

So, last year, perhaps to show the world an image of a Cannes Film Festival prone to change, the film by Luc Jacquet, La Glace et le ciel, ecological manifesto closed the festival.

« We want to be exemplary, because we are also the promoters of tourism in Cannes and we want to train our local partners, hoteliers, restaurateurs, in this approach. This is very important for our image », says the CFO of Cannes Film Festival Palace.

Yeah, we know that your reputation is important Mister CFO, otherwise stars like the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, very committed to the environmental cause, who will not want to get on your carpet! So although it is not altruistic, this change is positive for the planet and therefore for all of us

Towards a greener fashion industry?

And the stars have also been tied to this change. Some celebrities wore designer dresses made of recycled materials, like those worn by Emma Watson or Lupita Nyong’o, others use sustainably sourced jewelry like gold and emeralds from Chopard worn by Julianne Moore. Even the official rosé of the Cannes festival is a certified organic wine called Paparazzi ! If that is not progress … There is still some work to be done though, between the havoc of the fashion industry and the very archaic management of waste, we are still far from unwinding the green carpet !

cannes film festival dresses sustainable julianne moore emma watson lupita

Fortunately, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio who is campaigning ceaselessly and at every opportunity for the preservation of the planet and the fashion designers who are starting to launch eco-friendly trends like Livia Firth (yes the wife of Colin Firth) who is working with Eco-Age , a consulting agency providing eco-friendly certifications for fashion brands under certain conditions. The label is GCC, “Green Carpet Challenge” interesting name revealing how the industry is evolving towards greater sustainability.

Even Air France decided to make some efforts, organizing “green” flights during the Cannes Film Festival taking advantage of rising air traffic towards Nice, by using 10% biofuel to reduce the carbon impact of this increased traffic.

So to all tourists currently in Cannes, it is up to you that this festival does not symbolise a huge waste and become greener by choosing environmental friendly hotels in Cannes, not throwing away your plastic bottles but reusing them and avoiding the shopping of any Made in China souvenirs.