This is probably the biggest challenge facing mankind in the years and decades to come. There is now an overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change: greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) resulting from human activity have contributed to a global temperature change with potentially devastating consequences for our environment, health and economic and geopolitical systems. The message is clear: we must act now to reduce the planet’s GHG emissions by half – which for a developed country like France, means cutting its emissions per unit of output by a factor of four (or 75%).
This target has been legally binding in France since 2005 and was endorsed by the Grenelle II bill later adopted by the French government.
Champagne took action long before the passing of legislation. In early 2003 we assessed the carbon footprint of the industry as a whole. Soon after, we launched the Champagne Climate Plan to demonstrate our solidarity with future generations.
Champagne Climate Plan
The Plan today is implemented through five main strands, encompassing 16 research and development programmes and more than 40 individual projects either underway or in the pipeline.
Strand 1/Viticulture and Oenology:
- Make tractor and field operations more energy efficient
- Promote organic and sustainable vineyard practices
- Reduce vineyard Nitrous Oxide emissions
- Promote energy-efficient, environmentally friendly frost-protection systems
- Implement Biomass programme
- reduce the impact of personal travel (daily commuting, business travel, visitor travel and wine tourism),
- give preference to less polluting modes of transport for upstream and downstream freight.
- Make buildings more energy and heat efficient
- Develop all types of renewable energy
- Promote sustainable construction
Strand 4/Responsible purchasing of goods and services:
- support and promote a policy of responsible purchasing of goods and services with a lower ecological or climate footprint,
- control the impact of packaging when shipping Champagne wines (bottles, packaging),
- Gradually replace inputs and supplies whose components are of fossil origin with so-called "bio-based" products, i.e. from agro-resources (Anaxagore programme).
Strand 5/Ancillary activities:
- Provide all producers with remote/Extranet access to an online carbon footprint calculator specifically designed for the Champagne industry
- Create awareness among industry members and help them to define a personal action plan geared towards their individual needs.
Our objectives are clear:
- A reduction of 25 per cent in the industry’s total GHG emissions by 2020;
- and a four-fold (75%) or preferably five-fold (80%) reduction by the outer target date of 2050
These efforts are starting to bear fruit as the carbon footprint of the Champagne industry was reduced by 15% between 2003 and 2010.