Airport industry carbon reduction scheme recognised as one of Europe's top low-carbon projects
(L-R) Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI Europe; Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Action Commissioner; and Chrystelle Damar, Head of Environmental Strategy & Intermodality, ACI Europe
Fri 15 Nov 2013 – The industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme has been named as one of the top three low-carbon European projects in the ‘World You Like Challenge’ competition organised by the European Commission. The runner-up award was presented to airport trade body ACI Europe by EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard at the annual global Sustainia Awards in Copenhagen. The Challenge is part of the Commission’s pan-European public awareness campaign ‘A world you like. With a climate you like’, which promotes practical, innovative and cost-efficient solutions to climate change. Launched four years ago, the European airport carbon programme, which has been extended to ACI’s Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions, now comprises 90 certified airports that collectively handle around 22 per cent of annual global air passenger traffic.
Receiving the award, ACI Europe’s Director General, Olivier Jankovec, said the programme had been launched during the worst of trading conditions but had been rewarded with a solid uptake from airports around Europe and beyond. “This is a fantastic recognition for the 90 airports that are currently certified under the programme – for their ongoing work to map, reduce, optimise and ultimately neutralise their carbon emissions.
“The recent ICAO Assembly confirmed the ambitious climate agenda of the entire air transport sector, supporting the development of a global market-based measure as part of a comprehensive action plan. As the face of aviation on the ground, airports are fully committed to addressing their carbon footprints – this is also part of being a good neighbour serving the economic and social needs of their communities.
“Airport Carbon Accreditation frames, supports and incentivises the collective work that airports are doing to make their operations more carbon efficient and their business more sustainable.”
The contest had 269 entries, which were narrowed down to a shortlist of 10 after a public vote lasting five weeks. The winners were chosen from the shortlist by an independent panel comprising Commissioner Hedegaard, former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and Chair of the UN’s IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Sustainia, a partner of the campaign, is an international sustainability initiative spearheaded by Schwarzenegger.
“It has been truly encouraging to see the amount of innovative projects from across the European Union that were submitted to the World You Would Like Challenge,” said Hedegaard at the awards ceremony. “It’s time to scale up these climate solutions to build a world we like, with a climate we like.”
The top award went to a Portuguese project involving over 1,000 farmers to provide them with seed mixtures adapted for specific soils that help increase the soil’s resilience to environmental instabilities. It has helped to increase the productivity of pastures across many parts of the country.
The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is independently administered by global sustainability consultancy WSP Environment & Energy and endorsed by institutions such as ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference) and Eurocontrol. It also has the backing of the European Commission, ICAO, UNEP and Manchester Metropolitan University.
In Europe, 77 airports in 24 countries are currently certified at one of the four levels – Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation and Neutrality – with 14 airports that are at the carbon neutral level. A further 12 airports in the ACI Asia-Pacific region and one in the ACI Africa region have also now received certification. Bangalore Airport has just become the third Indian airport accredited at the Optimisation level.
In the fourth year of the programme (June 2012 to May 2013), the collective reduction achieved was over 170,000 tonnes of CO2.