How to finance an eco-responsible project in sports?

Recognizing the need to integrate environmental issues into their activities, more and more sports organizations are embarking on large-scale environmentally responsible projects to reduce their environmental impact. A movement that, however, is slowing down due to the additional costs associated with taking into account new environmental standards. However, some specific financial leverage can mitigate this cost increase. Lighting.

Drive innovation by promoting environmentally responsible solutions. This is a challenge recently taken up by the Municipality of La Ciotat. In January 2020, the latter became the first city in Europe to open a synthetic football field filled with… crushed olive pits! Faced with the perceived health and environmental risks of conventional synthetic pitches, whose infill mainly consists of rubber granules from crushed tires, the municipality of Bouches-du-Rhone opted for a bio-based turf during the renovation of the Stade Jean Bouissou. .

“So-called bio-based aggregates or environmental performance began to appear in France in 2018 after an ANSES report pointed to the environmental risk associated with the use of synthetic resins made from SBR aggregates. Manufacturers soon developed cork-based fillers to replace rubber balls. But this surface is not adapted to the climate of the south-east of France, subject to episodes of heavy rains. By choosing to fill with olive pits, we offer an ecological solution that does not require additional care in case of rain,” explains Romain Gensoul, Commercial Director of Méditerranée Environnement, the company responsible for the renovation of the Jean Bouissou Stadium. .

Additional costs associated with environmentally responsible projects

Since then, the choice of flooring made by La Ciotat has become a role model. The six other municipalities in the PACA region are Pertuis (Vaucluse), Châteauneuf-le-Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhone), Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer (Var), Le Bosset (Var), Grimaud (Var) and Greasque ( Bouches-du-Rhône follow in the footsteps of La Ciotat, also opting for a synthetic surface made from olive pits. And La Ciotat plans to equip the second field with this coating.

“Super-investments related to consideration of environmental issues average, depending on the projects, from 5 to 10% of the total amount allocated to sports facilities”

Olivier de Crecy – junior architect – Rey-de Crecy

However, from an economic point of view, synthetic resin from olive pits is not the most profitable solution. “Compared to a surface made of SBR aggregate, the additional cost of this type of coating is around 50,000 euros. On the other hand, this amount is equal to the amount of cork resin,” Romain Jensoul promotes in complete transparency. An increase in expenses that corresponds to approximately 10% of the total bill. A ratio that is part of a general trend of integrating environmental aspects into construction/modernization projects for sports facilities.

“Super-investments related to consideration of environmental issues average, depending on the projects, from 5 to 10% of the total amount allocated to sports facilities. But today the climate emergency is such that we can no longer reason in purely economic terms. We must make efforts for the benefit of all. Also, for energy-related projects, ROI calculations are not always reliable. Because too often we think about the constant price of energy. However, fossil fuel price inflation will skyrocket,” Olivier de Crécy, junior architect at the Rey-de Crécy agency in charge of renovating Strasbourg’s Stade de la Maine, told us last August.