Frequently asked questions on our Sustainability policy

What does it mean to be carbon neutral?

Carbon neutral means that an organisation, product, or service has taken action to reduce and remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it puts into it. This is usually achieved by reducing as many CO2 emissions as possible and then balancing what cannot be removed through offsetting (IPCC).

 

What do we mean by a carbon footprint?

This is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities and operations of a particular individual, organization, or community.

How will AliKats measure its carbon footprint?

We will track how much carbon dioxide our operations as a company emit in kg on an annual basis. We have grouped our activity into 4 areas, which we will measure accordingly:

  1. Energy use of accommodation

To calculate this we will add up the total number of litres of heating fuel and/or the number of KWh of electricity and then using a set of standardised Carbon coefficients, we will calculate the number of Kg of carbon for each heating type. The carbon emissions of our hydroelectric generated electricity will be lower than the French average and our phase two goal is to calculate a more detailed carbon amount based on the specific hydroelectric power station from where we buy our electricity

  1. Transport

To calculate this we will calculate the total amount of petrol and diesel used and then using the Carbon coefficient for each fuel type, we will calculate the number of Kg of carbon emitted.

  1. Waste

To calculate this, we will physically weigh the waste by category (household, recycling and glass) before putting it in the bin. We will then use the carbon coefficients for each type of waste to calculate the number of KG of carbon emitted.

  1. Food & Drinks Provision

To calculate this, initially we will add up the total number of meals served and then use the Carbon coefficient for a standard meal to calculate the number of Kg carbon emitted. In reality however, the carbon footprint of the food we serve will have a much lower carbon footprint than the standard carbon coefficient for a meal ,and so a more accurate calculation will require us to go down to the level of each ingredients. This is a phase two goal for us due to the effort involved with capturing this more detailed data.

 

What is carbon offsetting and why is it important?

Carbon offsetting is a way for organisations to manage carbon emissions that they cannot eliminate entirely, so they can become carbon neutral. Through offsetting projects that reduce or remove emissions, we cancel out carbon emissions we are not able to completely eliminate during the operation of our business.

Our primary goal is to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible across all areas of the business. Unfortunately, we are still responsible for some unavoidable emissions, which must be counteracted as a crucial part of our carbon management programme. We are dedicating time and resources towards identifying and investing in offsetting projects that meet our vision of a climate positive future, one where we not only reduce CO2 emissions but also restore and regenerate our planet for the future.

 

Are carbon offsetting costs included in the price of my holiday?

We have altered our prices to include carbon offsetting costs. This ensures our guests have no additional fees to worry about. However, it is important to remember that carbon offsetting is our final response, and our first response is always to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible.

 

Are my flights offset by AliKats?

As we do not book customer flights and travel to resort, we do not include them in our carbon emission calculations and they are, therefore, not offset by the company. As we do not book flights and currently have no way of reliably knowing customer travel plans and where they are coming from, it’s not possible to include them in our figures.

However, we recognise that carbon emissions caused by travel, including travel to our chalets, have a huge impact. We are promoting lower impact methods of travel over flying,  and are backing the campaign to improve rail connections to the Northern Alps (please read further information on the Alpine Express here).

Our goal is to introduce a carbon offsetting initiative to our guests, which enables them to measure and mitigate the carbon produced by their transport to resort. By opting into this program our customers can rest assured that their contribution is invested in our carefully selected off-setting projects.

 

What is a ‘positive impact company’?

By positive impact we mean a company that creates more beneficial impact, than harmful impact, on the environment.  Foremost, this means removing move carbon from the atmosphere than we put into it by our company’s actions and operations, but it goes beyond this. We choose to use this term, rather than carbon positive, because our environmental vision extends to a wide range of holistic long term positive benefits for the environment and local community. You can read more about this here.

 

What is Montagne Verte?

Montagne Verte is a non-profit association funded by the community it serves with a simple mission; develop solutions for the region of Morzine to reduce its environmental impact. In working closely with local stakeholders, Montagne Verte aims to provide a valuable resource that brings together all kinds of helpful information and support. This will enable our community to make greener decisions and become a more sustainable tourism destination. Al and Kat, co-owners of AliKats, are founding members and actively involved in the operation of the association. Read more about it here.

 

Why is it so urgent for us to reduce our carbon footprint?

Current IPCC advice tells us that, by 2030, we need to cut global carbon emissions to at least 55% below what they were in 2017, to keep the planet within 1.5 degrees of warming.

Why do we care? Going above 1.5 degrees of warming puts millions more at risk of potentially life-threatening weather patterns and poverty. It all but wipes out coral reefs that entire ecosystems rely on worldwide. Seas rise and swallow cities. That said, the climate crisis is already here, we are already seeing the effects of it across our planet. However, we still have a shot at holding the line at 1.5 degrees to keep what is already a climate crisis affecting millions from becoming a climate catastrophe. According to the IPCC we need to basically cut fossil fuel emissions in half by 2030 to do it. It requires change on a global level, which is why you are reading this on our website and we are publicly committing to do everything possible to go beyond this target and do our best for the planet.

 

Is skiing bad for the environment?

It’s true that it requires positive action for a sport such as skiing, with its requirement for lifts, pistes and artificial snow, to operate on a green basis, but with new environmental measures, practices and technology in place, this is becoming an achievable goal.

Ski lifts and artificial snow-making do require power for the ski season; but they are increasingly efficient and clean since they no longer run on diesel and the electricity comes from renewable sources. Many resorts in Europe, including Morzine-Avoriaz, are taking steps to derive their power from green energy. The companies running the ski lifts in Morzine, SA Pleney and SERMA are currently installing photovoltaic panels (for solar energy) on the Proclou chairlift – 41m² of panels have been installed for a forecast production of 9000 kWh per year which will be deployed for the operation of the lift. This innovative project is the first of its kind in Haute-Savoie.

The Morzine ski area’s piste bashing machines run on non-toxic, biodegradable GTL fuel as opposed to the off-road winter diesel used by traditional piste bashers. They are also less disruptive, quieter machines. Meanwhile, the Forestry Commission ensures each tree cut down from the ski area is accounted for. Trees, including important local species such as spruce, fir, and larch, are replanted in areas of the Chablais that need it.

When it comes to accommodation, choosing an environmentally friendly hotel or chalet company, particularly if you opt for catering, which means your food will be bought and prepared responsibly, means you can rest assured the footprint of your holiday will remain small.

Taking all of this into account, its still hard to ignore the estimation that 60% – 70% of a ski resort’s yearly carbon emissions come from visitors’ modes of transport to and from the resort. Consequently it could be said, the biggest challenge lies not within the management of the direct impact of skiing on the mountain (all though this is, of course, highly important), but in reducing the impact of the high-carbon travel associated with travelling to the resort. It’s estimated that choosing the train over flying cuts CO2 emissions per passenger by 90%.

Skiing can be a relatively low impact sport, if the resort, accommodation and method of travel are chosen with the environment in mind.