The mountain ecosystem has its own specific characteristics. Climate change, biodiversity, tourism, water and waste management... these are just some of the issues to be discussed with sustainable development specialists.
Mountain Planet is the benchmark event for all those involved in ski resorts and mountain regions in general. While tourism has played a major role in the development of mountain resorts, it must be acknowledged that the construction of tourist facilities and the increase in road traffic to access mountain activities have also had an impact on the natural environment. Learn more about the themes related to mobility and transportation.
Today, a reasoned and sustainable approach to mountain areas is being adopted worldwide, not just in France, whether in the northern Alpine resorts of Isère, Savoie or Haute-Savoie, or in the southern Alps, the Pyrenees, the Vosges, the Jura, the Massif Central, or Corsica. Ski and mountain resorts are racing against the clock to become ever more eco-responsible and respectful of nature and biodiversity.
The Alps, a vast territory to preserve
In France, the mountains account for 43% of protected natural areas, with seven national parks including the Vanoise, Pyrenees, Cevennes, Ecrins, and Mercantour. 58% of France’s mountainous area is covered by forests and semi-natural environments. This is the nature that draws millions of tourists annually. The space dedicated to agricultural land, accounting for 38% of the mountain regions, must also be considered.
At the Mountain Planet 2022 event, the gathered experts shed light on the evolving trends in snow and mountain tourism. This was detailed in Innovation Book #3, published by Mountain Planet.
In the Alps, the signs of climate change are evident. As temperatures climb more rapidly at higher elevations, the melting of glaciers is intensifying. Diminishing snowfall and the heightened risk of avalanches are influencing biodiversity as well. The Alps serve as a sanctuary for a diverse array of flora and fauna, including some species that are endemic. The establishment of national parks is a strategic move to bolster the protection of this biodiversity.
What sustainable solutions are there for ski resorts?
Ski resorts face major environmental and biodiversity challenges. Nowadays, there are sustainable practices in place that help to minimise the environmental impact of our resorts while conserving biodiversity. The shift towards renewable energy is already in progress at numerous ski resorts. Diminishing the carbon footprint of ski lifts by harnessing solar power, setting up wind turbines, or installing hydroelectric systems is aiding in reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Discover more about energy and the transition towards sustainable energy sources.
Furthermore, waste management and recycling present significant challenges in mountainous regions. The isolated location, harsh weather conditions, and ecological sensitivity often complicate waste collection and sorting. Utilising recycled materials for the construction and refurbishment of facilities also contributes to mitigating impact and decreasing the volume of waste produced. A process known as “Retrofit” is employed, where old parts are replaced with newer ones to prolong the operational lifespan of certain equipment.
Enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings, managing water resources effectively, developing eco-friendly transport solutions, and recycling materials are all exemplary and conscientious practices. The numerous exhibitors at the Mountain Planet event are showcasing innovative solutions to these challenges. Click here for a list of our exhibitors by sector.