Environment

Montagne Verte Update

Launched in 2019 to tackle some of the very obvious sustainability and environmental issues facing Morzine and the surrounding valley, Montagne Verte is a non-profit organisation with significant plans to lessen the carbon impact of your winter holiday. Here’s an overview of the last 12 months at Montagne Verte and a hint of some exciting things to come…

Direction Zermatt

In June, Montagne Verte initiated a trip to Zermatt with a collection of mayors from within the Haut Chablais region. The delegation included Fabien Trombert, the mayor of Morzine-Avoriaz in addition to several other local officials. The objective was to discover alternative ways to manage town planning in a mountain resort. Zermatt is both car and bus free and has an outstanding bio waste processing plant. The town’s mayor spent time demonstrating some excellent initiatives to the group. On the way back to Morzine, the team stopped off in Martigny to view the impressive cycleway network established by the town and overall the trip was considered to be overwhelmingly useful. “The opportunity to step out of our own villages, to see other ways of doing things, was very inspiring,” Montagne Verte President Al Judge explains.

A New General Manager

For the last 12 months Montagne Verte has been lead on an interim basis by co-founder Cecile Petuaud Burton. The recruitment of a new General Manager has been successful and Sara Burdon, formerly of the Morzine-Avoriaz Office de Tourisme, will take the helm in March 2024. “We’re very excited about what Sara and our Director of Sustainability Benoît Prunel will be able to achieve together in the years to come” says Al.

Launching Biocyclette®

Biocyclette® is a food waste biodéchets collection initiative piloted by Montagne Verte during Summer 23; so successful was the scheme that it will be rolled out across our valley in 2024. In fact, on 1st January 2024, a new national law states that all commercial hotels and restaurants must properly dispose of their food waste, but in reality, most won’t be in a position to meet this requirement. The Montagne Verte local collection scheme involves a cyclist on an electric bike, accompanied by an electric trailer. Combined, they’re able to transport up to 250kg of waste food from restaurants and hotels. “We’ve got lots of local businesses signing up to the initiative, and we’re doing a big push to create awareness,” Al explains. “At the moment, Biocyclette® is just for businesses as we don’t have the capacity to collect from individual homes. Maybe that will come in the future!” was considered to be overwhelmingly useful. “The opportunity to step out of our own villages, to see other ways of doing things, was very inspiring,” Montagne Verte President Al Judge explains.

The Alpine Express

For those unfamiliar with the Alpine Express project, here’s how the scheme works in a nutshell. Travellers who complete the majority of their journey to the mountain resorts of Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz receive genuine, useful discounts in a large range of local businesses, from accommodation to restaurants, from ski lessons to ski passes. The idea is what whilst electing to travel by train may be more expensive than flying, you can offset these extra costs with the long list of discounts on other areas of your holiday. This list of benefits and discounts will be expanded in 2024 as the number of people who choose to travel by train increases. Additionally, Montagne Verte have received a grant to fund a guide that explains exactly how you can navigate the French rail network to reach your resort of choice. “We’ve also set ourselves an ambitious target in relation to the Alpine Express,” Al explains. “By 2030, we want the train to be the preferred way for British tourists to get to the Alps.” Montagne Verte have chosen 2030 because this is the year by which we need to have halved our carbon emissions inline with the Paris agreement. “We accept that this isn’t something we can achieve ourselves, we need to build an international coalition to fulfil this objective.” The organisation Seasonal Business In Travel (SBIT) have joined the coalition and talks are also underway with the large French ski lift operating company Compagnie des Alpes. “When carbon taxation for flights comes in, none of us want to be in a position where we can’t afford to go on holiday,” says Al. “We need to have an alternative in place for travelling to the Alps before that moment and this is the business case for an organisation like Compagnie des Alpes.”

Launching AMAP

AMAP is the Montagne Verte local produce subscription initiative and it launched this summer with some excellent feedback. The weekly boxes are packed full of delicious, local produce and 20 individual families signed up to the service. “20 initial subscriptions is actually pretty impressive,” says Al. “By comparison, Thonon down the road has 35,000 inhabitants, their AMAP initiative has just 30 subscribers.” The AMAP project will continue to expand and enhance in 2024.

Montagne Verte in 2024

In addition to pushing forward with the Alpine Express expansion and the biodéchets initiative during 2024, perhaps one of the most exciting developments in 2024 will be push towards creating a cycle path network around our valley. “Everyone in our valley would love to be able to get on a bike in St Jean d’Aulps and ride easily and safety into Morzine,” Al believes. Creating an efficient network of cycle paths would have three main benefits; there’d be a reduction in carbon emissions, cycling is excellent for your health and the pathways themselves create a new tourist activity that’s not dependent on snow, or using the lift network. “The Communauté de Communes du Haut-Chablais (CCHC) are moving forward with their planning and a member from Montagne Verte will sit on the consultance committee that oversees the establishment of these cycle paths.”

The Finances

Al explains that Montagne Verte, as a not-for-profit association, is in good financial heath and will be looking to increase revenue strams moving forward. Asking tourists to participate financially in the long term environmental health of the mountain villages they love will become more important. Asking property owners – those who own holiday homes and properties that host holiday makers will be another focus for contributions. And finally, the largest organisations operating in our valley – those who really must take action against climate change – they’ll be asked to make a contribution towards the work of Montagne Verte too.

It’s really inspiring to see the variety of projects being pushed forward by Montagne Verte. With last winter’s ‘snow situation’ still fresh in the memories of many, it’s never been more important to limit the impact of mountain tourism on our local environment. If you’d like to support the work of Montagne Verte, either financially or by subscribing to one of the projects outlined above, head to montagneverte.org/en/donate.

Montagne Verte Update
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