CANSO encourages air navigation service providers to adopt carbon footprinting and issues a best practice guide
Mon 13 Mar 2017 – With vast communications and navigation infrastructure, and a need to operate safely and resiliently on a 24/7 basis, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are energy intensive businesses. They therefore have a role to play both in terms of the influence they can have in reducing aircraft emissions through more efficient operations but also directly in terms of the impact of operating their facilities. To help ANSPs address their environmental performance, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) has published a best practice guide to carbon footprinting. Focusing mainly on the management of ‘estate’ related carbon impacts, such as emissions from powering buildings and the infrastructure associated with delivering operations and services, the guide aims to provide ANSPs with a framework to establish tailored programmes to measure, monitor and reduce their emissions.
The guide was put together by CANSO’s Environment Workgroup and is based on best practice by a number of ANSPs that have already well-established carbon footprinting programmes in place and includes case studies of how some ANSPs have significantly reduced emissions as a result. It aims to clarify the issues from an ANSP’s perspective, offer options for carbon footprinting and encourage ANSPs to consider how they might benefit from the exercise.
The guide describes the publicly available generic methodologies and international standards, and how businesses can approach assurance and verification. It describes what might be appropriate for an ANSP organisation, whether it is considering carbon footprinting for the first time or has already begun the assessment.
There are many reasons why ANSPs should monitor their greenhouse gas emissions, say the authors of the guide. By conducting a carbon footprint measurement, the most energy intensive areas of the business can be identified, which can then result in opportunities to implement newer, more efficient low carbon technologies. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings can reduce costs as well as decrease GHG emissions. As an example, UK ANSP NATS has reduced its energy consumption by over 30% in absolute terms since it started measuring and targeting energy efficiency since 2008. In the process, it is saving over £4 million ($5m) a year and tens of millions since the programme began.
Compliance with legislation, regulation and national targets on GHG emission reductions is often another requirement, and ANSPs are encouraged to define their own objectives if they are not already imposed. Measuring and monitoring can also be a useful front-line control in determining if there is an environmental risk from hidden issues or system failures.
Airports and air traffic are often perceived negatively because of their environmental impacts and undertaking a carbon footprint assessment alongside a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report is a way of self-regulating that allows a company to set and manage its sustainability goals and monitor how it performs, says the guide. Not only does this support emissions reductions but reporting data and performance also demonstrates transparency and credibility to the public, investors and stakeholders.
ANSPs aspiring to grow their businesses and tendering for new contracts are also increasingly being asked to demonstrate their environmental credentials. Often a prerequisite when bidding for new commercial work is having an environmental management system and policy in place, and understanding the carbon footprint of their operations.
With many airports committed to reducing their emissions through the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, collaborative support from ANSPs is becoming important for delivering their operational and environmental goals.
“The air traffic management industry is already playing a vital role in reducing aircraft emissions through more efficient operations,” commented CANSO Director General Jeff Poole. “ANSPs can also reduce emissions more directly by managing the environmental impact of operating the facilities they own and manage. This guide give ANSPs the tools to do that and I encourage all ANSPs to measure their carbon emissions as a crucial first step in identifying and delivering environmental improvements.”