Heading towards a sustainable future

7 juni 2019

The increase of public awareness that our climate is changing, has led to a policy change within the aviation industry. As a result, more and more airports have put themes like ‘sustainability’ and ‘circular economy’ high on the agenda.

Adecs Airinfra Consultants and consulting company Arcadis visited a few Dutch airports together to exchange thoughts on airport sustainability, and the following conclusions were drawn:

  • A sustainable way of thinking or dealing with an issue from a sustainable approach often leads to more innovation and successful outcomes;
  • The airport’s surrounding communities have become more demanding and ask for transparency regarding the airport’s sustainability policy;
  • The airport’s shareholders and investors prefer (socially) responsible investments.

Many roads lead to Rome

What exactly is ‘sustainability’? Every single airport might have its own sustainability goals and there are many ways in achieving them. So, there is no ‘right’ way to get there. If you would like to make a difference to the world, the direction in which you should be heading, is your own customised direction. No two airports are alike; every airport has its own operating processes and challenges. To become more sustainable, you must follow your own route.

Joining forces

The way to a sustainable future is an ongoing process. Not only the airport itself but also the parties involved (such as investors, partners, airlines, suppliers and residents) should be triggered to search for sustainable innovations and solutions that have a positive impact in environmental, social and/or economic terms. The results will be most effective when forces are joined, rather than all efforts undertaken by only the airport itself.

How to get there

Realising sustainable ambitions starts with a clear vision on what sustainability means to your airport. The next steps are defining sustainability goals and create a detailed strategy plan which will point out the airport’s desired direction it wants to be heading.

Our belief is that the level of success depends on the quality of the strategy plan. Together with Arcadis we can organise brainstorm sessions with your airport to develop this strategy plan. The invention of useful and innovative ideas will be stimulated and prioritised, and the corresponding actions that need to be taken, will be identified. Experts such as consultants in aviation, sustainability, asset management or energy consumption from both Arcadis and Adecs Airinfra Consultants will join the sessions, as this could add expertise and new and different perspectives to the discussion. The composition of the teams will depend on the airport’s unique situation and ambitions.

An important sustainability goal which more and more airports are interested in and which should not be excluded from a strategy plan is the reduction of the airport´s carbon footprint. The Airport Carbon Accreditation Programme (ACA) from ACI EUROPE is an officially approved way to assess and recognise realised carbon reduction. With the implementation of sustainable solutions into the airport´s policy and operational processes, four levels of accreditation can be certified:

  1. Mapping – determining the airport’s carbon footprint.
  2. Reduction – taking effective measures to reduce the airport’s carbon emissions.
  3. Optimisation – optimising the airport’s carbon footprint by getting third parties involved that contribute to the carbon emissions.
  4. Neutrality – compensating for the airport’s remaining carbon emissions that cannot be further reduced, by offsetting.

Adecs Airinfra Consultants and Arcadis will be happy to assist you on reaching ACA’s levels of accreditation.

There is an old Irish saying that summarises the road to a sustainable future: “no strength without unity”. So, we must get every stakeholder involved. Because it seems that the focus on sustainable entrepreneurship is not a matter of choice anymore. It is the airport’s key to success, both today and in the future.

Schrijf je in voor onze blog updates