World Conservation Congress
This Autumn, GRTgaz is taking part in the World Conservation Congress held between 3-11 September in Marseilles. Preserving biodiversity is a key commitment that is central to our core purpose.
A signature confirming a commitment. On 5 September at the World Conservation Congress organised by the UICN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) in Marseilles, GRTgaz, the Région Sud and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Nature Parks Network Association renewed the partnership agreement entered into in 2017. The goal is to achieve an even better balance between GRTgaz’s industrial activities and protecting biodiversity in Regional Nature Parks. The reason for this is that GRTgaz operates no less than 300 km of its network within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Nature Parks and transports 20% of the energy consumed in the region.
In signing this agreement, GRTgaz confirms its commitment to promoting local natural resources, as well as to the economic attractiveness and tourist appeal of these spaces. France's Regional Nature Parks are areas recognised for their great historic and heritage value, as well as for their landscapes and their biodiversity.
Ecological continuity, “zero herbicides” and anaerobic digestion
So how does this translate into action? First and foremost, by promoting ecological continuity. For example, GRTgaz has made a commitment to its network’s easement strips being included in so-called “green and blue belts” – corridors rich in natural resources identified in the region. In other words, the idea is to turn these into genuine vectors for enhancing biodiversity.
En 2020, GRTgaz s’est aussi engagé dans une approche « zéro phyto » pour l’entretien de ses installations situées dans les PNR des Préalpes d’Azur et du Luberon. La convention entend aussi aider les parcs à mieux identifier leur potentiel méthanisable, c’est-à-dire ces « déchets » naturels pouvant être convertis en gaz renouvelable. Un travail est notamment mené pour valoriser les produits de fauche et d’arrachage des espèces invasives. Bref, sans compter la sensibilisation des personnels et des populations locales aux problématiques de développement durable, le programme est très ambitieux.
Ninety percent of easement strips located in rural or natural spaces
GRTgaz’s conservation ambitions are not limited to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. As a French natural gas transmission network operator, the group operates 32,056 km of pipelines in the country. This natural gas transmission network is a key connection between the region’s main industrial sites. However, the network’s easement strips require 5-20 metres of land, and 90% are located in rural and natural areas (including 8,000 km in protected areas such as Regional Nature Parks).
Environmental conservation and sustainable development are hence central to our industrial plans. In line with our core purpose, this ambition takes shape via specific attention to both development and the protection of the regions in which we operate.
A nature-oriented company... both in the regions and throughout France
Three main areas of focus for conservation are: carbon neutrality, reducing the environmental footprint of the gas chain through the rise of renewable gas, and protecting biodiversity. For over 10 years, this has taken the form of commitments, partnerships and action plans in the field.
In 2010, GRTgaz and the French Regional Nature Parks (PNR) Federation came together to improve the protection of biodiversity in these cherished spaces. Three years later, the company initiated its National Biodiversity Strategy, before joining Act4nature launched by the French association Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EpE). These gave rise to the “Companies Committed to Nature” programme, in which GRTgaz participates. This is underpinned by ten common key principles, including taking biodiversity into account in the business strategy, supplemented by the company’s own commitment and in line with our related goals.
“Zero herbicides” in 2030 and ecological niches
Against this background, GRTgaz has set itself the overlapping goals of reducing and then eliminating the use of herbicides, creating ecological niches in its compression stations, and protecting pollinating insects. The group has also decided to adopt an “under 2°C” carbon emissions plan, in line with the recommendations of the Paris Agreement. The wheels are in motion.
5 commitments for sustainable, responsible activity
- Preserve ecological continuity near to GRTgaz facilities to encourage the movement of species
- Guarantee that GRTgaz facilities are maintained in an eco-responsible way
- Develop and share a common culture for biodiversity challenges
- Promote the expansion of anaerobic digestion
- Make people aware of regional ecological and energy challenges