The environment has priority

A major event such as Expo.02 required special measures for comprehensive protection of the environment. The Expo.02 Environmental Management System (EMS) was the internal control and steering instrument to ensure compliance with the environmental goals and principles of Expo.02. The EMS was based on the ISO 14001 standard. Since December 1997, two bodies had been functioning to ensure that Expo.02 was carried out in an environmentally compatible manner: the Environmental Unit and the Environmental Controlling Unit.

The Environmental Unit was responsible for all environmental issues concerning the planning, realisation, operation and dismantling of Expo.02. It supported the Expo.02 management in the operative implementation of the environmental policy. The office was integrated into the Direction Technique and was later renamed Département Environnement.

Environmental controlling was awarded to the company Aquarius in Neuchâtel in December 1997 after a public invitation to tender. This independent Expo.02 body monitored the application of environmental protection regulations and regularly informed the public with a report on Expo.02's work. 

Environmental protection: a project with ambitions

Expo.02 was certainly the Swiss company whose environmental plan was most closely monitored. It had promised the public groundbreaking solutions in this regard. This plan paid great attention to the environment.

One and a half kilos of rare and rather shy mussels (they already bear this peculiarity in their Latin name: Unio Timidus) were carefully collected from the lake beds of Neuchâtel, Murten-Morat, Biel-Bienne and Yverdon-les-Bains before construction of the Arteplages began. The little shells have been moved from this danger zone to other locations.

This charming story illustrates only a small part of the enormous effort that Expo.02 made to respect strict environmental standards and apply an ambitious eco-policy.

Air, noise, water, soils, ecosystems, landscape and cultural heritage, transport, recycling, waste management and prevention of naturally occurring incidents: Many areas need to be taken into account. A first success has been achieved. The contractors were prepared to invest the appropriate technical and financial resources.

Supervised dismantling

During the construction and operation of Expo.02, several environmental reports were prepared. This type of monitoring also took place during the dismantling phase. An independent expert office was entrusted with the task of monitoring compliance with the guidelines and regularly informing the public in a report.

Programme of measures

A programme of measures was drawn up for each Arteplage, covering all environmental aspects and defining the ecological framework for Expo.02 and its partners.

Life cycle assessment

The Département Environnement of the Expo.02 resorted to life cycle assessment every time it had to choose, for example, building materials, means of transport or waste management. An external specialist from Carbotech SA, Fredy Dinkel, calculated the impact of material and energy flows on the environment and their life cycles.

General contractors and their environmental officers

In order to ensure that the environmental protection measures on the Arteplages were carried out properly, the general contractors commissioned external environmental officers to advise them and to monitor the work on the construction sites.

Support groups

For each Arteplage, there was an environmental support group consisting of representatives of the cantonal and municipal authorities as well as private environmental protection organisations. These groups were responsible for the administrative approval of the various projects and works in the environmental field.

Federal advisory group

The federal monitoring group was a working group that brought together representatives from various federal offices - for the environment, transport, energy, spatial planning. It was set up by the Confederation to implement measures that were within its competence.