European airports' carbon neutrality 2030 goal passes half way point as Gatwick and Lyon reach highest level
Wed 31 May 2017 – London Gatwick and Lyon-Saint Exupéry have become the latest European airports to achieve the highest carbon-neutral level of the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. This brings the total of carbon neutral airports in Europe to 27, over half way to reaching an industry goal of 50 by 2030, with four other airports in Asia and one in North America also having reached Level 3+ neutrality. Lyon initially entered the programme at the first ‘Mapping’ level of the programme in 2013 and has since worked its way up through the four levels. To coincide with its announcement of reaching carbon neutrality status, Gatwick has published its ‘Decade of Change’ report for 2016 which charts progress against 10 environmental and community-focused targets the airport has set itself for the 2010-2020 period.
It is now over seven years since Stockholm-Arlanda achieved certification from airports trade body ACI Europe as the world’s first carbon-neutral airport and there are currently 116 airports in Europe accredited across the four levels, which together handle 64.9% of European passenger traffic.
To achieve carbon-neutrality, Lyon has engaged in a variety of activities ranging from direct reduction of its carbon emissions, switching to cleaner sources of energy and engaging 20 companies on its airport site to lower their emissions. It has offset the remaining 4,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions under the airport operator’s control through the purchase of carbon credits retired against a Cambodian project (see graphic).
Lyon is the second French airport to achieve carbon neutrality, after Nice Côte d’Azur became the first in 2016.
“Lyon-Saint Exupéry plays an invaluable role in its region and the whole of France,” commented ACI Europe Director General Olivier Jankovec. “Its latest achievement of becoming carbon neutral speaks volumes about its commitment to sustainability and it is something that all of the team there can be justifiably proud of.”
Its ‘Decade of Change’ report highlights a 5% reduction in annual carbon emissions from fuel and energy in 2016, and a 2.6% drop in annual energy consumption per passenger.
The report also covers the building of its new waste management plant that opened recently, which Gatwick says makes it the first airport in the world to turn both food and packaging waste into energy waste (see article). Last October, Gatwick signed an agreement with its on-airport taxi company to reduce emissions by 75% per journey by 2020 through the use of either electric or hybrid vehicles, which is estimated will save 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The vehicles will also switch to electric operations only when within a 10-mile radius of the airport to further reduce emissions in the local area.
“We consider sustainability as critical to our future as a successful airport and the news that we are now a carbon neutral airport shows just how far we have come since independent ownership in 2009,” said Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate. “Our ‘Decade of Change’ strategy is really driving our sustainability performance and today’s results show that we are successfully balancing growth with a reduced environmental footprint, whilst also contributing to the community and thriving local and national economies.”
ACI Europe will announce the carbon reductions achieved by European airports in the eighth year of the accreditation programme (June 2016 to May 2017) during its annual Assembly in Paris next month.