VINCI Airports launches reforestation programme to reduce emissions at Lyon’s airports

Within a five-year framework, VINCI Airports will undertake various projects that will offset 100 per cent of Lyon’s airports’ residual emissions.

VINCI Airports launches Lyon airports reforestation programme

Credit: VINCI Airports - Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and President of VINCI Airports (right), and a representative from the French National Forest Office (left).

Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and President of VINCI Airports, has announced a local reforestation programme that will absorb the residual emissions of Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport (LYS) and Lyon-Bron Airport (LYN), which have been operated by VINCI Airports since 2016. 

The first project of this programme, conducted in partnership with the French National Forest Office and the Rhône Departmental Council, is located approximately 30km away from Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, in the Cantinière forest.

It consists in restoring, reforesting, maintaining and managing a 3.6-hectare plot of land with locally resilient species that have been selected for their strong capacity to adapt to water stress and absorb CO2. This first forest carbon sink project will sequester more than 500 tonnes of CO2 over the plants’ growth period thanks to photosynthesis, and aims at achieving the Low Carbon Label certification.

By developing other similar projects within a five-year framework agreement with the Rhône Department Council, VINCI Airports will create a network of forest sinks in the Rhône region that will offset 100 per cent of Lyon’s airports’ residual emissions. In support of the many decarbonisation actions underway, this programme will enable Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport to become the first commercial aviation airport in France to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2026. 

VINCI Airports will also offer airlines the opportunity to join its forest carbon sink programme – within the framework of the French Climate and Resilience law, which will require the compensation of domestic flights as of 1 January 2022 – and then to companies or passengers on international flights. 

VINCI Airports has chosen to act locally, with a positive impact on the immediate area of influence of Lyon airports. As a long-term partner of the Rhône-Alpes local authorities, VINCI Airports is thus supporting the development of the forest sector as a lever of regional economic development. 

Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and President of VINCI Airports, said: “It is in the very heart of the regions and territories where we operate that VINCI Airports is taking action. Our network, both deeply territorial and broadly international, allows us to have a tangible and immediate impact to contribute to the decarbonisation of mobility, wherever we operate.” 

Christophe Guilloteau, President of the Rhône Department, said: “I am delighted with this first partnership between the Rhône Department and Aéroports de Lyon (VINCI Airports). The aim is to reforest plots of land in the department’s forests. This project will meet the regulatory requirements of the ‘Low Carbon Label’ and will contribute to the future of the departmental forests. It is part of the continuity of actions carried out in favour of the preservation of our territory. ” 

As the first airport operator to take action for the environment on a global scale, VINCI Airports has already reduced CO2 emissions across its network by 22 per cent between 2018 and 2020. The forest carbon sinks are part of VINCI Airports’ action plan to contribute to the decarbonisation of aviation with all of the players in air transport. Other initiatives include sustainable airports, incentives to renew airline fleets with less emissive aircrafts, the development of biofuels and the preparation of airports for the arrival of the hydrogen aircraft. 

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