Vinci Airports and France’s Rhône Chamber of Agriculture have launched the first local agricultural project with a ‘field crops’ low-carbon label.

Vinci-owned Aéroports de Lyon and the Rhône Chamber of Agriculture have joined forces to develop local greenhouse gas reduction and sequestration projects eligible for the low-carbon label (France's official certification scheme for greenhouse gas reduction or sequestration), using the ‘field crops’ method. The aim is to bring about a change in cropping practices on this type of farm (cereals, oilseeds or leguminous crops such as peas, soya beans, and alfalfa) in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and beyond that, to encourage carbon sequestration in agricultural soils.

This first project is part of Vinci Airports' overall strategy of decarbonising its activities. All its airports are committed to reducing their CO2 emissions as much as possible and offsetting their residual emissions through local carbon sequestration projects.

Other Vinci entities in France’s Centre-Est region have joined this partnership to strengthen the development of low-carbon agricultural projects. Among them are and thus contribute to meeting their environmental challenges: Vinci Construction, civil engineering specialist Freyssinet France and Vinci Energies' Building Solutions and nuclear activities.


The programme

This ambitious programme is being developed with 13 cereal farms in the Ozon valley, members of the GEDA (Groupement d'Etude et de Développement Agricole), located near Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport and covering a vast cultivated area of around 1,900 hectares. The aim is to encourage more sustainable agriculture that emits less CO2, by implementing measures to reduce residual CO2 emissions in the soil, including :

  • Biomass: covering the fields with plants between crop rotations, allowing CO2 to be captured in the plants and the soil in a sustainable manner
  • Fertilisers: reduction in nitrogen fertiliser intake (generating nitrous oxide which is a greenhouse gas) and/or use of organic fertilisers
  • Fossil fuels: reduction of emissions related to the fuel of agricultural machinery by direct sowing without tillage.

Financial assistance from the project partners will be paid to the farmers. Scheduled over five years, with a view to sustainability, this low-carbon project will reduce the carbon footprint of the farms and offset 4,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent for the project partners.

"This project shows that all the stakeholders in the region can work together to reconcile agricultural, environmental and economic issues. All too often they are opposed, when in fact they are complementary. Farms are key players in the transition to tomorrow's world, and nothing can be done without them. This project is a good example of how partnerships can be built between businesses that are very different from each other, for the benefit of society as a whole,” said Pascal Girin, chairman of the Rhône Chamber of Agriculture.

Image: Vinci Airports