Airport executives meet in Amsterdam to pledge joint action on the sector's sustainability and resilience
Wed 2 Nov 2016 – Sixteen airports and airport authorities have come together to sign a declaration pledging to become more sustainable. An initiative of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Airports Sustainability Declaration was signed during the Airports Going Green conference taking place in Amsterdam, being held for the first time outside the United States. By increasingly working together, sharing successes and experiences, innovating and challenging their own organisations and business partners to think and act more sustainably, “the airports intend to take significant action towards increasing their sustainability,” says Schiphol. The timing of the declaration is intended to tie with developments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris COP21 outcome and the recent ICAO agreement on capping net aviation emissions. In a keynote to the conference, Dutch environment minister Sharon Dijksma said the ICAO scheme was a start in the journey to cut aviation emissions but given the expected growth of the sector, more would be needed.
“The Paris Agreement doesn’t explicitly mention international aviation,” she told delegates to the conference, which started on Monday and ends today. “But there can be no doubt about the aviation sector’s responsibility to combat climate change.
“So it was great to witness the achievement of a historic agreement a month ago, at the 39th session of the ICAO Assembly. We now have a global scheme known as CORSIA, aimed at compensating all growth beyond 2020. The scheme complements measures that the industry is already taking to reduce CO2 emissions. Like applying innovative technology, developing sustainable bio-kerosene and continuously improving the use of infrastructure and airspace. The ultimate aim is to cut CO2 emissions by half by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
“It’s only a start, of course, but every journey begins with a single step. This agreement lays the foundation for future efforts.
“Airports and airlines can do a lot to make aviation greener. They can build on existing initiatives or facilitate new ones. They can optimise airport infrastructure. Or improve take-off and landing procedures, striking a balance between noise and emissions reduction. Airports are key partners in the aviation fuel supply chain. And we’re already seeing initiatives around the world of airports working with airlines to boost the use of aviation biofuels.
“In fact, looking at all these initiatives, and acknowledging the difficult task the aviation sector faces, the initiative for the Declaration feels like a well-timed and logical outcome.”
The signatories to the declaration are Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Brisbane Airport Corporation, Carbon War Room, Centennial Airport, Chicago Department of Aviation, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Eindhoven Airport, Lithuanian Airports, London Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Aéroports de Montréal, Flughafen München, New York JFKIAT, Port of Portland, San Francisco International Airport and Wayne County Airport Authority.
The pledge reads: “Our ambition is to strengthen a system of sustainable and resilient airports, worldwide, through collaboration, transparency, innovation and engagement. Together, we will ambitiously work towards our vision of airports voluntarily working together in a worldwide network to be socially, environmentally and economically prosperous and to be adaptable in the face of change. The Global Sustainability Goals will guide our sustainability ambitions with priority for our respective regional challenges.”
The Airports Going Green annual conference was started nine years ago by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). The CDA makes annual awards that recognise projects, programmes or persons that contribute to the sustainability of the industry.
Award winners this year were Dallas-Fort Worth International for becoming the first North American airport to achieve the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation at the highest carbon neutrality level; Copenhagen International (measuring air quality at the airport); HMS (food donation programme); Hong Kong International (airport carbon measurement programme); Nashville International (geothermal lake plate cooling); and United Airlines (biofuels programme). Honourable mentions were awarded to 15 other airports and industry individuals.