The first COVID-19 lockdown and the summer of 2020 provided an unexpected opportunity for the Juno Beach Centre staff to finalize a strategy and an action plan for sustainable development at our historic site, which in 2019 hosted more than 100,000 visitors! Of course the challenges of the pandemic have continued to evolve, pushing well into 2021, and the our primary concern is to see visitors return safely to the museum and Juno Park. The launch of our Sustainable Development strategy has been a silver lining amongst the ongoing uncertainty and quite rightly, now is the time for the Juno Beach Centre to begin a transformation towards sustainability and to put in place today good practices for tomorrow.
The museum’s Sustainable Development plan is rooted in both social and environmental responsibility. Its actions are based on a greenhouse gas balance sheet to measure the JBC’s carbon footprint, and it commits to the future through new, focused directions.
In everyday museum life, our concrete actions demonstrate our adoption of a new state of mind and our commitment to integrating sustainable approaches – many of which have begun to permeate all aspects of museum life and operations.
Climate change is a global emergency. There is no time to waste if we are to stop global warming and the resulting impacts. Since we have to act quickly, all actions are important and are key elements in our overall plan.
Our first progress report outlines some of the actions – big and small – we have put in motion over the past year:
Carbon footprint reduction and circular economy actions
- The 2019 & 2020 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) assessments on the Juno Beach Centre were carried out internally with the control and support of AKTIO, a French startup whose goal it is to provide organizations with the technological tools to effectively implement and measure actions they take to combat climate change. The comprehensive assessment completed with AKTIO sets the course for what we can and must do, today, tomorrow and the day after.
- An energy audit of the JBC and the Canadian staff house was carried out by L’Agence Française de Conseil en Environnement (AFCE), an environmental engineering firm located in Caen. Now it’s up to us to make good use of it to plan future investments and take concrete actions now.
- Many energy saving changes have already been made, such as the installation of LED lights and timers in the museum’s service areas.
The issue of transport for our visitors is at the heart of our thinking, especially since it represented 81% of our GHG emissions in 2019. We have already been able to carry out some mitigation actions of which we are proud to address this issue:
- Establishing a partnership with the French National Railway Company (SNCF), which is the state-owned entity that operates railway services for passengers and freight in France, including the TGV. Through this partnership, visitors to the JBC who travel to the museum on the SNCF system are eligible for a Green Price for their entry fees to the JBC.
- Implementing a targeted questionnaire in the JBC’s digital guestbook in order to refine the data collected on their modes of transport.
A circular economy is a model whose objective is to produce goods and services in a sustainable way, through low carbon and low energy methods. At the JBC, this includes efforts around the responsible consumption of goods and creating incentives to influence people to adopt a more mindful approach to consumption. This is how we started to act at the museum:
- Seek products and suppliers for our museum boutique who create products through low carbon practices. Look for items that will allow visitors to choose between buying a traditional souvenir and one resulting from a low carbon offer;
- Install four beehives on the JBC’s roof terrace this May;
- Embrace the famous 3 Rs (reuse, reuse and recycle): Our rain barrel has been installed on-site; our scrap paper becomes notepads or folders, and tech equipment is repaired with spare parts rather than discarded, as only some examples of the many actions we have begun.
- Reduce consumables through an annual distribution of office supply kits; limit printing to necessary items only; and weigh waste to give us the necessary tools to measure the amount of waste we generate and dispose of;
- Organize the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, ink cartridges, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and cork stoppers.
Commitment actions towards our visitors and our employees
Fortunately, not everything has to be reinvented! We have long practiced inclusive policies, actions or approaches that are meaningful in terms of sustainable tourism and have materialized as follows this year:
- The translation of the Explore Juno as a family app into Dutch; obtaining the Accueil Vélo label; participation in a digital call for projects for a virtual tour of the bunkers making them “accessible” to everyone, whether they are far away, unable to come to Juno or even live with a disability;
- We seek to involve visitors and service providers in our efforts, whether it is with the installation of sorting bins or cardboard cups in beverage dispensers;
- For many museum employees, working remotely has become the norm;;
- We have hired two student interns who are currently, among other things, working on the Sustainable Development srategy.
Work actions by group of actors
Aware that many issues of pertaining to sustainable tourism are systemic, we have joined forces with various institutions such as the Normandy Region which support our approach aimed at becoming the first D-Day landing beaches museum committed to sustainable development, the University study D- Day Climate Change, CPIE, SYVEDAC, Quelle Chouette Planète Association …
Because we are convinced that together we will go further and do it much more effectively.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.