What is it?

Airport Carbon Accreditation is the only institutionally-endorsed, global carbon management certification programme for airports. It independently assesses and recognises the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions through 7 levels of certification: ‘Mapping’, ‘Reduction’, ‘Optimisation’, ‘Neutrality’, ‘Transformation’, ‘Transition’ and ‘Level 5’.

Through its 7 levels of certification, Airport Carbon Accreditation acknowledges that airports are at different stages in their journey towards comprehensive carbon management. It is a programme for airports of all sizes, extending beyond hubs and regional airports with scheduled passenger traffic, to include general aviation and freight-focused airports.

Airport Carbon Accreditation is also the only global, airport-specific carbon standard which relies on internationally recognised methodologies. It provides airports with a common framework for active carbon management with measurable goalposts. The programme is site-specific allowing flexibility to take account of national or local legal requirements, whilst ensuring that the methodology used is always robust.

Airport Carbon Accreditation strives to enable the airport industry to effectively reduce its carbon footprint, to benefit from increased efficiency through lowered energy consumption, shared expertise and knowledge exchange, as well as better communication of the results. The considerable number of airports certified at each level of the programme signifies clearly that regardless of size or geography, these airports are leading the way, actively lowering aviation’s carbon footprint on the ground.

Our mission

In today’s globalised world, mobility remains key in supporting the well-being and prosperity of our societies. Air transport, through its speed and cost-effectiveness, has grown into a prime enabler of this much-needed connectivity. As part of this vibrant system, airports bring undeniable benefits to the cities and regions they serve – connecting places, people and products with a range unmatched by any other mode of transport. Freedom of movement is a basic human need. However, in its current form our mobility comes at the expense of the environment.

Airports have long since recognised the need to address these impacts and worked towards more sustainable operations through a host of improvements and innovations. Following years of working individually to address their local environmental impact, airports are now acting in a collective way. Airport Carbon Accreditation is empowering their efforts to make further strides in managing and reducing their carbon footprint to achieve alignment with global climate targets.

How it all began

In June 2008, the Annual Assembly of ACI EUROPE adopted a landmark resolution on Climate Change in which its member airports committed to reduce carbon emissions from their operations, with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral. One year later, at the 2009 Annual Assembly, ACI EUROPE launched Airport Carbon Accreditation, allowing the assessment and recognition of participating airports’ efforts to manage and reduce their CO₂ emissions. In the first year of its tenure, 17 of the most advanced airports in terms of environmental management joined the initiative. In the following years, the programme snowballed and spread into other world regions, highlighting the global airport industry’s readiness to get on board with climate action.

The first region to join ACI EUROPE’s initiative was Asia-Pacific in November 2011. Airport Carbon Accreditation has been further extended to airports in the African region in June 2013. In September 2014, Airport Carbon Accreditation took off in North America. The programme has reached its current global span in November 2014 with its extension to airports in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Airport climate action moving forward

Through its agile structure and governing philosophy of continuous improvement, Airport Carbon Accreditation has proven an effective and forward-facing tool supporting airports of all sizes and locations in reducing their impact on the climate. In the context of rising societal and political pressure to address emissions from all sectors of our economy, across-the-board airport climate action will remain pivotal in supporting aviation’s decarbonisation. Airport Carbon Accreditation will continue to evolve and strive to serve airports even better in this endeavour. This leadership position has one again come to the fore in 2020, when Airport Carbon Accreditation introduced two new and more ambitious levels of carbon management into its framework amidst the catastrophic effect of the global pandemic of COVID-19 on aviation.

Check out which airports are part of the programme here.

Find out more about who’s behind the programme here.