CDA accelerates its net zero carbon trajectory in mountain areas

The Groupe announces immediate 72% reduction of its GHGs with the elimination of fossil fuels for its snow groomers starting with the 2022/2023 winter season

On 1 June 2021, the Group set the goal of achieving Net Zero Carbon (NZC) emissions by 2030. In addition to its medium-term initiatives, it is already switching to synthetic HVO biofuel (hydrotreated vegetable oil produced from waste) for its entire fleet of snow groomers in ski areas. The various initiatives implemented are aimed primarily at reducing the Group’s carbon footprint; for residual emissions, the priority will go to local carbon sequestration projects helping achieve net zero carbon emissions for the regions where its sites are located.

Elimination of grooming emissions

Grooming is the main source of GHG emissions from the Group’s mountain activities, accounting for almost 80% of its direct carbon footprint due to the use of fossil fuels. Reducing our consumption and moving away from fossil fuels for this process is therefore a priority for CDA.

CDA is eliminating fossil fuels for its entire fleet of snow groomers from next season

Following successful tests in Les Arcs and then La Plagne, CDA has decided to switch its entire fleet of snow groomers to synthetic HVO fuel from next season.
Fully renewable and made from waste grease and used vegetable oil, but with no palm oil, compatible with the equipment of all of the Group’s partner manufacturers, this alternative to diesel reduces CO2 emissions by 90% and fine particles by 65%. The migration of all 130 snow groomers over the entre 2022/2023 season will result in a reduction of 9,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, or 72% of the direct carbon emissions of mountain activities excluding electricity.
In addition, the ski run services of Tignes, Val d'Isère and Saint Martin de Belleville (Les Menuires) have expressed their interest in supporting the group in its commitments and its NZC program. The CDA ski-lift companies have committed to paying the additional cost of this fuel for these ski run services, which will thus be part of the system.

First “Made in Alpes” electric snow groomer

In conjunction with this immediate decision, and as part of a medium-term transformation, Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) is fully committed to supporting the R&D of CM DUPON – a family-owned business from the Isère department and the only French manufacturer of snow groomers – aimed at launching several test projects geared towards developing a low-carbon snow groomer.
This winter, a prototype electric snow groomer was tested in La Plagne: range and consumption tests yielded more than satisfactory results. The machine allows an average saving of 80 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (i.e. 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the life of a snow groomer including the manufacture of batteries) and an elimination of hydraulic fluids.

In addition, CDA and CM DUPON are at the same time already working on a prototype with a hydrogen range extender, which will be tested on the Group’s sites from next winter.

CDA has already confirmed its interest in ordering future low-carbon snow groomers from CM DUPON.

Battery electric or hydrogen or hybrids fuel cell powertrains will be chosen depending on their suitability for the intended use, with a view to finding the best solution for the transition of our 130 vehicles by 2030.

Contribution to regional net zero carbon targets

Local carbon sequestration with the Office National des Forêts (ONF)

To round out its efforts to reduce its carbon impact, the Group has joined forces with the ONF in a 10-year partnership aimed at sequestering its residual emissions as close as possible to its sites. From this year, CDA will finance 50 hectares of reforestation in state forests in Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Hautes-Alpes, as close as possible to its ski areas, plus 50 hectares in the Oise department, near Parc Astérix. In all cases, these initiatives involve the reforestation of forests whose poor condition prevents them from playing their role in carbon sequestration.

Based on a three-year plan for 2023-2025 and in partnership with municipal authorities and the ONF, the first stage offers additional potential of roughly 150 hectares of reforestation or afforestation in the host departments of its various sites. The combined total of 250 hectares will allow up to 45,000 tonnes of CO2 to be sequestered over the coming 30 years. This approach also provides collateral benefits for the biodiversity of the various sites and helps adapt forests to climate change. New three-year plans will round out the scheme throughout the partnership, and the Low Carbon Label will be sought for each project.

Action to reduce visitors’ mobility footprints

On top of its primary scope (scopes 1 and 2), which is immediately and directly linked to its activities, CDA also acts wherever possible to offer solutions aimed at reducing the carbon footprint linked to the mobility of resort visitors (scope 3).

Electric buses in Val d’Isère and Tignes 

This season’s test of an electric shuttle in Val d’Isère and Tignes (as part of the “soft mobility” initiative launched by local authorities) confirmed the relevance of this solution, even in conditions of intense cold, high altitude and unevenness. CDA has accordingly decided to gradually migrate its resort bus fleets to electric powertrains with models manufactured in France, in agreement with the relevant local authorities.

Spread over several years in line with the timetable for renewing its bus fleet, this initiative will save 18 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year and per vehicle.
First results of Travelski Express

Despite the fact that British customers were not able to travel to France until the end of January 2022, the reopening of the London-Moutiers-Bourg-Saint-Maurice route by Compagnie des Alpes was a success; load factors were high on rotations operated from the end of February to April. Overall, the number of visitors transported during the 2021/2022 ski season corresponds to the equivalent of 80 aircraft flights, but with emissions per visitor more than 10 times lower. 

Dominique Thillaud, Chief Executive Officer of CDA, said: “In view of the many challenges facing the French mountains, Compagnie des Alpes is determined to explore new approaches at the very heart of its activities, particularly in its ski areas, in order to share and move forward with all stakeholders in the various regions towards a sustainable future in the firm belief that there is room to reconcile the economy and the ecological transition.”

[1] GHG: greenhouse gas – the carbon emissions excluding electricity of the ski areas totalled 14,000 t CO2eq. in the 2018/2019 reference year (adjusted for Les 2Alpes).


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