European airport sector raises its ambition by doubling earlier pledge on carbon neutrality
Wed 14 Jun 2017 – The European airport sector has agreed to double the number of carbon-neutral airports from an original target of 50 airports by 2030 to 100. Currently, 27 airports have reached this status and at their industry’s annual congress that started today, a further 26 airports in the region announced their commitment to join them. The European airport association ACI Europe first launched its Airport Carbon Accreditation programme in 2009 and since then 116 European airports have been certified at one of the four levels, with carbon neutrality the highest. The programme has now been rolled out globally across all ACI regions with 190 airports now taking part. ACI Europe also reported at its meeting the CO2 reductions for the past year from participants and announced Munich Airport had been adjudicated by the programme’s independent advisory board as this year’s winner of its Eco-Innovation Award.
The pledge to have 50 carbon-neutral European airports by 2030 was made during the UNFCCC COP 21 climate negotiations in 2015 held in Paris. With its annual congress taking place in the French capital eighteen months on, ACI Europe’s President, Augustin de Romanet, who is also CEO of French airport group ADP, said: “Europe’s airports are fully behind the objective of keeping global warming well below 2ᵒC and aiming to reach 1.5ᵒC. For its part, the airport industry has already moved from words to actions a while ago through our independent carbon management programme.
“We are already more than half way to our initial commitment, so we thought we could do even better. And looking at how some have just stepped out from the Paris Agreement, we thought we could definitely do better. So I am extremely proud to announce that we are doubling our commitment.”
Among the 26 airports that announced their neutrality intentions are London Heathrow, Brussels, Zurich, Munich and London City, as well as the ADP group of airports.
The ACI carbon programme is independently administered by WSP and its advisory board includes representatives from ICAO, UNFCCC, UNEP, ECAC, the European Commission, US FAA and Manchester Metropolitan University.
“Less than two years ago here in Paris, 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement under the motto of ‘we can, we must, we will’. Today’s announcement by ACI Europe about its increased climate neutral ambition is very much in the same spirit and sets a great example for other industries and sectors to follow,” said Niclas Svenningsen, head of the UNFCCC’s Climate Neutral Now initiative. “We at UNFCCC welcome the continued efforts of the airport industry and support all the airports that are taking action to combat climate change.”
Under the programme, European airports saved a total of 154,351 tonnes of CO2 during the past year of certifications.
“For airports, carbon management is as much about being at the forefront of corporate and social responsibility as it is about business continuity,” said de Romanet. “Climate change poses a significant risk to the airport industry – changes in rainfall, temperature variations, sea-level rise, changes in wind patterns. All of these have potentially severe implications for our industry, for the wider transport sector and for European connectivity.”
ACI Europe’s Eco-Innovation Award went to Munich Airport “for its comprehensive and systematic approach to environmental management and sustainability across all its operations and in relation to all its impact.” The independent jury commended the airport’s management involvement strategy, including the correlation between management remuneration and sustainability KPIs, the cooperation with the German sustainable alternative fuels group Aireg, and the biodiversity engagement through measures to protect flora and fauna around the airport. The jury also noted the airport’s implementation of extensive noise and emissions monitoring, including bio-monitoring of air quality. Budapest Airport was highly commended in the same awards category.
Munich Airport CEO Michael Kerkloh was elected at the Paris meeting to succeed Augustin de Romanet as President of ACI Europe.
Eco-Innovation Award presented to Hermann Blomeyer, Head of Environmental Protection (left), and Michael Kerkloh, CEO (centre), of Munich Airport by Filip Cornelis, Acting Director, Air Transport, DG MOVE, European Commission (right):