Airport raises the bar in greenhouse goals

The Aeroports de la Côte d’Azur Group has revealed that it is two decades ahead of schedule in its ambitious plan to become 100% carbon-neutral, setting a precedent for the rest of the world.
For the past 15 years, the Aeroports de la Côte d’Azur Group has been implementing policies to lessen its carbon footprint, to the point where they can now hope to emit zero grams of greenhouse gases in just 10 years’ time.
The measures will affect the three airports under the jurisdiction of the group – Nice Côte d’Azur, Cannes Mandelieu, and Golfe de Saint-Tropez.
In June 2019, the group was one of 193 European airports to set a goal of completely eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But the Aeroports de la Côte d’Azur Group has moved the deadline forward with a determined new plan.
“I admire companies that spontaneously set themselves ambitious targets,” said Bertrand Piccard, President of the Solar Impulse Foundation, a world alliance that brings together the main actors involved in developing, financing or promoting solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way. “Faced with the slow pace of international negotiations, this is the best way to make progress towards environmental protection. By aiming to achieve zero net emissions by 2030 at the latest, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur has become a pioneer and set an example for the world of aviation. Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur intends to reach its goal as quickly as possible by calling on solutions labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation, such as the contract signed recently with Antismog.”
Each of the three airports will move forward independently, as each has a different level and type of usage. Golfe de Saint-Tropez, which has been carbon neutral since 2018, will install a carbon well this year to absorb 23 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of the residual emissions being outputted. The new platform will also absorb excess CO2 equivalent to 2.5 tonnes in 2022 and 21 tonnes by 2034.
Cannes Mandelieu will use the same format but will be a bit slower in implementation. The airport will reduce in five stages until 2030, when zero emissions will be fully realised. By 2034, it will absorb an additional 14 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Nice Côte d’Azur encounters a bigger challenge in its quest. As the second busiest airport in France, with an increasing number of passengers coming through every year, the airport must balance the larger passenger load with environmental protection.
In the past 10 years, Nice Airport has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, becoming the first airport in France to be labelled carbon-neutral in 2016. The airport continues to strive for 100%, but this won’t come without continued sustained efforts.
“Today, passengers passing through our terminals account for hardly 100 grams of CO2, which is 92% less than the average of European airports. This figure represents a record and an incentive to do even better. But these last few grams are the most difficult to eliminate, because they bring us face to face with technical or technological barriers that must be raised, if we are to achieve our goal of zero grams of emissions in just 10 years”, explained Isabelle Vandrot, Head of Sustainable Development and the Environment at Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur.
In 2020, the airport will reduce emissions by 83% by transitioning to electric service vehicles, and next year, the airport will hit 86% by making its freight terminal and technical centre gas-free. Solar panels and the decarbonisation of machinery will make up the remainder, allowing the airport to reach its goal by 2030.