Swedavia achieves "ultimate goal" as it becomes the world's first carbon neutral national airport group
Thu 11 Oct 2012 – Sweden’s national airport operator Swedavia has become the first national airport group to achieve carbon neutrality across its 10 airports. To attain ‘Neutrality’ certification under the Airport Carbon Accreditation voluntary programme, Swedavia’s airports have had to reduce CO2 emissions, engage with airport stakeholders to reduce their own CO2 emissions and then purchase carbon offsets for any remaining CO2 emissions under their control. Initially launched in June 2009 by airports association ACI Europe, the independent and institutionally-endorsed programme has now accredited 67 airports, which together handle over half of all European air traffic. Last year, it gained the support of ICAO and was expanded to the Asia-Pacific region, where five airports are now accredited. Meanwhile, Bournemouth and East Midlands airports have become the UK’s first to achieve carbon neutral ground operations.
ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec said Swedavia’s carbon neutrality status was a “very big moment” for the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
“Four years ago, European airports committed to reducing their carbon emissions with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral,” he commented. “A short time later, Stockholm-Arlanda became the very first carbon neutral airport, leading the way for others. Today, Swedavia’s entire airport group has achieved that, becoming the very first carbon neutral national airport group.”
He added: “Airports are complicated places, with many partners working together, but somebody has to lead. For an airport group the size of Swedavia to have achieved ‘Neutrality’ at each of its airports is no small feat. This is not just a major achievement within the airport industry, it is a substantial example of how an airport group can lead by example for other businesses beyond aviation.”
As well as Stockholm-Arlanda, state-owned Swedavia owns, operates and develops airports such as Gothenburg Landvetter, Malmö and Stockholm-Bromma, and collectively handles over 31 million passengers a year. Together with airport stakeholders, they have reduced CO2 emissions by over 33,000 tonnes.
To offset the 5,610 tonnes of emissions it was not possible to eliminate, Swedavia purchased UN-backed certificates from projects in developing countries that meet the Gold Standard requirements for the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.
Other European airports that have achieved ‘Neutrality’ – the highest of the four available levels of certification: Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation and Neutrality – include Avinor’s Oslo and Trondheim airports in Norway and Malpensa and Linate airports, which are operated by regional airport group SEA Milan Airports.
The five Asia-Pacific airports that have been accredited so far are Delhi International, Bengaluru International and Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International in India, and also Abu Dhabi International and Singapore Changi.
Last week, Dresden and Leipzig-Halle airports in Germany were accredited for the first time at ‘Mapping’ level.
The programme is administered by consultancy WSP Environment & Energy and overseen by an advisory board of representatives from the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), Eurocontrol, ICAO and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme).
In August, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports in the UK, both owned by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), announced they had achieved carbon neutral ground operations after carrying out an extensive £4 million ($6.4m) programme of carbon reduction projects.
East Midlands was one of the first airports to draw renewable energy from on-site wind turbines and Bournemouth boasts a carbon-free arrivals terminal. Both airports reduced their carbon emissions last year by a total of 7,171 tonnes through energy reduction and the introduction of renewable energy. They are now in their first full year of carbon neutral operations, the first airports in the UK to do so, claims MAG.
The group’s largest airport, Manchester, is expected to reach its carbon neutrality target by 2015. It has invested £2 million ($3.2m) in the past year on a range of initiatives that have helped total carbon savings to reach 12,500 tonnes per year.