Mon 28 June 2010 – Stockholm Arlanda and Turkey’s Izmir Adnan Menderes International airports have been jointly presented with the inaugural Eco-Innovation Award at the ACI Europe Annual Congress. It was awarded by the independent Advisory Board of Airport Carbon Accreditation, a programme launched a year ago, and recognizes outstanding environmental performance and an innovative approach to environmental management. So far, 19 airports across Europe have achieved Airport Carbon Accredited status, although over 30 airports applied for accreditation when the industry initiative was launched a year ago. ACI Europe reports that reductions of over 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved during the first year as a result.
The Advisory Board includes representatives of the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), Eurocontrol and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme).
Commenting on the award, Kerstin Lindberg Goransson, Managing Director of Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, said: “Granted, aviation worldwide represents only 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, but everyone has to work to reduce their emissions, including air transport and the airports. The aviation industry is very important for economic and social sustainability, and is now working to improve in terms of environmental sustainability as well.
“The award that Stockholm-Arlanda has won is further confirmation that the airport is carrying out environmental work that leads the world. This commitment is integral to the entire organization and something that all our employees can be proud of. The award further energizes our continuing efforts – there is still a great deal to be done.”
The airport claims it has more than halved the carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations at Stockholm-Arlanda over the past four years and is aiming to reduce emissions to zero.
The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is comprised of four progressive levels: Mapping, Reduction, Optimization and Neutrality, and is administered by consultancy WSP Environment & Energy and overseen by the Advisory Board.
Amongst the 19 airports accredited so far are major hubs like Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris and Frankfurt, as well as smaller regional airports. However, ACI Europe represents over 400 airports in total, so on the surface there would appear to be a disappointing lack of environmental ambition among Europe’s airports.
However, ACI Europe President and Schiphol Group COO Ad Rutten is pleased with progress. “With all that has been going on in European aviation in the past 12 months, it is heartening to see so many airports tackling their CO2 emissions with such dedication. Some are just beginning the process, while others are already well advanced,” he said. According to ACI Europe, the 31 airports that originally committed to becoming accredited account for 26% of European passenger traffic.
“The achieved reduction of 411,390 tonnes of CO2 is a good start, but watch this space,” added Rutten. “We already have clear signs of commitment from a further 20 airports that they will apply for accreditation in year two.”
Robert O’Meara, spokesman for ACI Europe, said the low level of airports accredited so far compared to the earlier commitments can be explained by the demanding and robust process of the programme.
“In the case of mid-to-large sized hubs, they have large environmental departments to put together the application, but they also have much more ground to cover and a wider net of stakeholders on site,” he told GreenAir Online. “In the case of regional airports, their environmental departments are much smaller and are sometimes overwhelmed by the demands of the programme and consequently, it takes them more time than originally estimated to complete their application.”
Leonie Dobbie, Head of Sustainable Aviation and Airports at the programme’s administrator, WSP, confirmed that a number of airports found the process challenging and were unable to complete their applications in the first year but said they were on schedule for year two.
“Airport Carbon Accreditation has set new standards in carbon measurement and management for European airports,” she said. “As the year has shown, accreditation is not a simple matter of form filling and filing, but requires significant input from the airports concerned and their external verifiers. We are pleased how the scheme is progressing and the direction it is taking and look forward to processing both renewals and new applications in 2010.”
Some major airports have yet to apply for accreditation, such as Madrid, Berlin and the London airports operated by BAA, but O’Meara is convinced of heavyweight additions during the second year of the programme.
According to the Airport Carbon Accreditation 2010 Annual Report just published, 13 airports have applications either in review or which are expected imminently. These include Portuguese airports operated by ANA such as Lisbon, Zagreb in Croatia and Irish airports including Dublin. Turkey’s Ankara Esenboga International Airporthas just been accredited in the past few days, confirmed O’Meara.
In order to demonstrate the European airport industry’s collective action on climate change, it is essential that further airports participate in the scheme,” says the report. “This will also help to ensure that Airport Carbon Accreditationprogressively becomes the accepted industry reference standard for airport carbon mapping and management and will contribute to its growing acceptance amongst airports, the aviation industry, governmental bodies and others.”
ACI Europe Best Airport Awards, which recognize achievements in core activities such as customer service, retail, security and environmental awareness, were presented to Malta International, Lyon, Manchester and Barcelona airports at the Congress. More news