With an ambitious plan aimed at reducing the tournament’s environmental impact, Rugby World Cup 2023 will be more than just a sporting event.
With that goal in mind, France 2023 is proud to have teamed up with the Orange Group and the Monnaie de Paris to create sustainable gold, silver and bronze medals for the tournament from recycled mobile phone components.
Iconic symbols of the sport, the medals will be awarded to players and coaches from the teams taking the top three places at Rugby World Cup 2023: the winners of the Webb Ellis Cup, the runners-up and the winners of the bronze final. Participation medals will also be presented to all the players taking part in the tournament.
Medals that combine boldness and tradition
The Möbius strip that wraps around the Rugby World Cup 2023 logo on the front of the medal is a unique and continuous link connecting the players to the fans, rugby to society, and France to the world. And because Rugby World Cup 2023 draws its strength from the regions of France, their uniqueness and specific characteristics, the ten host cities are represented through their very own signature.
The iconic Webb Ellis Cup featured on the back of the medal is the ultimate prize for every rugby player and has been awarded to the Rugby World Cup winners every four years since 1987. It is named after William Webb Ellis, a student at Rugby School in England, who made sporting history in the autumn of 1823 by picking up the ball during a football match and running with it, flouting the rules in force at the time. It was a disruptive action that defied the norms, and its 200th anniversary is being celebrated in 2023.
Bold yet traditional and combining nods to its history and avant-garde spirit, the medal embodies France and rugby at their strongest. It is topped by a depiction of the Arc de Triomphe, the monument where the country celebrates its greatest achievements and the scene of unforgettable outpourings of joy.
A French manufacturing process
Thanks to its “RE” programme, which provides phone recycling, returns and refurbishment services, the Orange Group played its part in the creation of the Rugby World Cup 2023 medals by arranging for the collection of used phones at its shops across France and from Campus 2023 apprentices, FFR-member clubs and partner companies.
The phones were sent to the French social and environmental cooperative Ateliers du Bocage for careful sorting. Those in good condition were repaired and refurbished, while the rest were recycled and taken to a centre specialising in the extraction of metals from electronic waste. The raw materials were then prepared by a company producing semi-finished and finished alloy products.
Working closely with the France 2023 teams, the Monnaie de Paris, France's oldest and most illustrious minting institution, designed, engraved and struck the medals at its workshop.
They will be presented to the players taking part in Rugby World Cup 2023 in an environmentally friendly case and attached to a ribbon made from recycled material.
Key facts and figures
1,491 medals (gold, silver, bronze and participation medals)
206,000 used mobile phones collected
2,953kg of metal recovered from 31 tons of phones
138 phones to make each medal
220 participating clubs and organisations
“Over and above the challenge of providing connectivity for Rugby World Cup 2023, Orange must respond to the greatest challenge of our time: protecting the environment. More than ever, we must support our customers, partners and the general public by helping them to embrace sustainability. These medals symbolise this creativity, commitment and the ever-increasing number of circular-economy initiatives the Group is engaging in, particularly at major sporting events.”
Caroline GUILLAUMIN, Director of Communications, Orange Group
“The medals that we are unveiling today are more than just magnificent collector’s items. They embody our goal to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible and to put the regions of France at the heart of Rugby World Cup 2023. I would like to thank all the teams from France 2023, Orange and the Monnaie de Paris for working together to collect the used phones, design the medals and mint them, helping to create a project that means so much to us.”
Jacques RIVOAL, President of France 2023
“The Monnaie de Paris is proud of its tradition of celebrating major sporting events and honouring athletes. Designing sustainable medals from recycled phones was a real challenge, but our workshops rose to it in brilliant style. Thanks to these medals, the players at Rugby World Cup France 2023 will shine long after the competition is over.”
Marc SCHWARTZ, Chairman of the Monnaie de Paris