Foster Environmental Civism
City/Region : Cannes , France

Incivism depicts various antisocial behaviors wich can engender a climate of tension, insecurity and a negative impact on environment.

Henceforth the City of Cannes fosters environemental civism, which aims to empower citizens, visitors and professionals, to preserve public space and protect environment.

This proactive policy favours an holistic approach and is organized around four axes:

- Communication and prevention (inform users to raise individual and collective awareness);

- Education and public awareness (engage with general public, especially the youngest population) ;

- Participation and commitment (involve citizens and professionals in eco-responsible actions);

- Mendings  and penalties (empower and verbalize offenders).

Agendas addressed
DecarbonisationBiodiversityWater resources and air quality
Climate changePublic space
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Accelerate sustainability and innovation through public procurement
  • Prepare policies for socio-cultural changes due to innovation
2021 campaign

Cannes, a worldwide city known for its International Film Festival, is the leading French city outside Paris for the organization of trade fairs of international reputation and receives more than 3 million visitors per year. Its attractiveness is mainly based on a unique natural setting. Preserving this natural environment means maintaining the quality of life of residents and visitors today, but also preserving the future generations.

Incivism is one of the main causes of public space and environment degradation; it also has a cost for local taxpayers. The programme against incivism carried out by the City of Cannes since 2014 manifests itself through concrete actions aiming to encourage inhabitants and visitors to adopt an eco-responsible behavior.

In Action
Here begin the sea

Communication and prevention :

  • « Fight against Incivism » campaigns, available in several languages, which have inspired other cities in France and Belgium.
  • « Here begins the sea » (“Ici commence la mer”)  campaign with the installation of 200 plates near the gullies to dissuade passers-by from throwing their waste on public road
  • « Inf’eau mer», « Info sea » and « Ecogestes » campaigns for the protection of the Mediterranean sea.

Education and awareness :

  • Sustainable development journey: environmental awareness workshops in schools

  • World Environment Day: day during which children themselves lead awareness-raising workshops

  • Educational marine and terrestrial areas: natural or coastal areas adopted by classes
  • Cannes Underwater Museum by Jason deCaires Taylor: six submerged sculptures constituting an original vector to raise public awareness on the urgent need to preserve marine biodiversity
  • Citizenship passport given to 5th grade (CM2) students
  • Implementation of awareness-raising operations ("cigarette butt box", "educational fish", "gamified ashtrays", distribution of disposable ashtrays, etc.)


    Participation and commitment :

    - Cannes Civic : application meant to report, from your smartphone, any anomaly on public roads

    - “Zero waste objective”: workshops to guide volunteer families towards more sustainable consumption patterns

    - Cliink: device allowing to obtain points for each sorted glass packaging, to be exchanged againts vouchers from local merchants.

    - random sorting « triage au sort » : competition game to raise public awareness on the issues of selective sorting

    - Zero Plastic Plan: all users of public domain have agreed to no longer use disposable plastic dishes or plastic bottles.

    - Cruise Charter : 100% of the cruise companies serving Cannes are committed to using diesel fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0,1%  and avoiding Posidonia meadows during manoeuvring and anchoring operations; it’s the strictest cruise charter in all the Mediterranean Sea

    - Climathon: a 24-hour worldwide challenge to generate solutions to face environmental challenges (topics addressed since 2017: mobility, waste reduction, agriculture and food, major risks)

    - Call for projects to identify and support start-ups that have developed environmental solutions-- Repair Café: monthly repair workshop

    - Lerins Barter, a website of geolocated offers promoting anti-waste alternatives such as donation, exchange or resale between neighbours


    Mending and penalties:

  • environment squad: 30 municipal officers dedicated to verbalization, prevention and information in environmental matters

    insertion of people sentenced to Community Service to repair the damage they committed

Underwater Museum sculpture

Results :

  • Savings: reduction in the annual cost of cleaning canine waste (700 000 euros in 2013 and about 200 000 euros today)
  • Reduction of tags (63 000 m² in 2005 for 560 000 euros in cleaning expense, 3 000 m² today costing 30 000 euros)
  • The two largest ports of Cannes (Port Canto and « Vieux-Port ») are labelled « Clean ports »
  • Port Canto is labelled « Pavillon Bleu » (« Blue Flag ») since 2018
  • 13 beaches of Cannes are labelled « Blue flag 2020 » (« Pavillon Bleu 2020 »)
  • 177 local merchants have agreed to be partners in the "Zero Waste Objective" initiative by committing to take back reusable containers from their customers

  • The « Cannes Civic" application reaches 9 000 reports per year

  • More than 900 local partners have signed the "Zero plastic Plan» :

            - 441 restaurants using terraces

            - 31 beach clubs 

            - 68 organizers of events in the public domain

            - 400 non-profit organizations

Rewards :

  • « Positive Dynamics prize » rewarding the civic approach of the Municipality with the associative network within the framework of the "World forum of positive cities and territories” [Septembre 2019]
  • the City of Cannes received the « Cannes head of incivism" label [April 2021]
  • the City of Cannes received the national distinction "Cannes, a pilot City of civic and citizenship education" awarded by the Association of Mayors for Civism (AMC)   [May 2021]

Cannes programme to fight against environmental incivism is easily reproducible:

  • several campaigns from Cannes to fight against incivism have been taken up by many other communities;
  • the "Here begins the sea" signage near gullies has been adopted by many ports and coastal communities along the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast in France and abroad;
  • the « Inf’Eau mer » summer campaign invented in Cannes has been gradually extended to the entire coastline of the South Provence Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, Corsica and Occitanie regions;

several large Mediterranean ports have expressed an interest in adopting the Cannes Cruise Charter, which supports the international initiative to make the Mediterranean Sea an Emission Control Area.


The measures taken to protect the environment make the city more attractive on an international scale.

Until ten years ago, the image of Cannes was mainly associated to glamour.

Henceforth, Cannes is also renowned for the cleanliness of its streets and the quality of its public spaces as well as for its involvement in a sustainable economic development, raising a growing interest from tourists, companies and investors looking for a qualitative and eco-responsible living and working environment.

As the programme is primarily focused on education and awareness of the youngest ones, the long-term impact will be even stronger.

Challenges and lessons learned

The most effective actions are those that target:

  • children, who are the next generation and also educate their parents owing to the eco-responsible actions they participate in, which often involve the whole family.
  • the partners of the City of Cannes, whose civic commitment are part of the contractual relations that bind them to the community: this is particularly the case with the Zero Plastic Plan which mobilizes beach attendants, restaurants operating terraces, non-profit organizations and organizers of events taking place on the public domain. By modifying their practices, these partners are themselves examples and relays to follow.
Zero Plastic Commitments
Citizenship passport
Civism guide


ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
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79098 Freiburg

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