Supporting agroecology to promote biodiversity and participate in agricultural model transition
For example, Elior is supporting two associations whose mission is to promote regional diversity in France: l’Association Française d’Agroforesterie et le Centre de Développement de l’Agroécologie. On the scale of their respective territories, these two associations are supporting farmers and breeders in the Hautes-Pyrénées and the Rhône Alpes with regard to their production and breeding methods. Further out, Elior's goal will be to offer local and responsible products generated by these projects in the Group's canteens located in the same regions. This is a way to increase the percentage of supplies sourced locally, raise diners’ awareness to environmental issues while promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and create links with local players. This approach which accords and promotes a more dynamic role of the planet contributes positively to Elior’s carbon impact.
Supporting biodiversity via the development of agroecology
Agroecology reintroduces diversity into agricultural production systems and restores a diverse agricultural landscape. These practices help reduce pressure on the environment (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, decrease in the use of chemicals, etc.), and strengthen the role of biodiversity as a factor of production. Agroecology thus makes it possible to set up an agricultural system that is more respectful of the environment, and to reduce CO2 emissions.
The "Bees and agriculture" project: agroforestry territories for bee-compatible agricultural practices
The Association Française d’Agroforesterie has been working since 2007 to develop agroforestry in France on the agricultural and political levels as well as with the general public. The association is a platform for exchange and partnership between farmers, agricultural and technical forestry players, researchers, political decision-makers, communities and administrations. Proactive at both the national and international levels, the association works to ensure that trees, hedges and plant-based engineering as a whole can find their place in agricultural systems.
Between 2020 and 2023, the Association will be carrying out a project with a view to supporting the transition of an agricultural region in the Hautes-Pyrénées into a more diversified landscape permitting agricultural practices that are more sustainable, profitable and respectful of pollinators, which are essential for maintaining natural ecosystem balance and ensuring agricultural yield. Around the world, populations of bees and other pollinators are in decline. This agroforestry approach makes it possible to propose a global solution that gets to the root of the problem whilst supporting productive and resilient beekeeping in the region.
In concrete terms, the purpose of this agricultural, beekeeping and societal project is to cover the land with plants, restore the fertility of the environment in question and to increase the useful water reserves. For four years, the association's teams will work together with farmers, beekeepers and local communities during the different stages of the project:
- Regional project planning, pilot-plot identification, agroforestry project design
- Pilot-plot planting
- Technical follow-up and support in acquiring the skills of the various parties involved
The “Green Bubble Regenerative Agriculture” project: to protect the water resources of the Badoit impluvium
The Centre de Développement de l'Agroécologie (CDA) works for the development of agroecology. Created by a group of agronomic engineers, researchers and farmers, the CDA's mission is to develop agroecology from field to fork. With expertise in both agriculture and new sustainable technologies, CDA is one of the only organizations able to offer support at different levels for all types of structures.
This project will make it possible to support around twenty farmers until end-2022 in their quest to achieve a form of farming that protects the water resources of the Badoit impluvium located near Saint Galmier (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes). The objectives of the project are to:
- Reduce inputs (glyphosate, fertilizers, tillage),
- Improve carbon storage in soils
- Enhance the profitability and autonomy of farms
Implementation will be carried out in the following stages:
- Operating audits
- Collective action programs to build on synergies (training, experiments, workshops, visits, etc.)
- Individual support so that everyone finds their place in the program (technical advice, support for changing practices)