Global carbon standard for airports passes the 500 milestone

May 30, 2023

  • Over 500 airports now actively engaged in addressing their impact on the climate1
  • Over 200 airports working on reducing not just those CO2 emissions under their control (scope 1 & 2), but also engaging other companies on their site to do the same (scope 3)
  • 63 airports delivering absolute emission reductions based on a pathway aligned with the objective of the Paris Agreement

Brussels, 30 May 2023 – Airport Carbon Accreditation today celebrates a significant milestone on the journey to decarbonising the airport industry. More than 500 airports across the world are now certified under the programme, having fulfilled the stringent requirements set by its accreditation levels2.
Launched back in 2009 by ACI EUROPE, with then just 17 trailblazing airports achieving accreditation, the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme has since become the global standard for carbon management by airports. The 500 milestone is testament to the programme’s continued robustness and relevance in providing the toolbox that enables concrete and performance-driven airport climate action. As such, Airport Carbon Accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring that the airport industry progresses towards achieving its commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 20503.
Niclas Svenningsen, Manager for Programmes Coordination at the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) said:
The collective impact of 500 airports around the world working towards a common goal of carbon reduction is a force to be reckoned with. Accelerating decarbonisation has now become more urgent than ever, against the backdrop of alarming scientific reports flowing from the IPCC and real shifts in the planet’s climate witnessed by us all. We need to decarbonise as fast as possible, or face daunting externalities of unchecked rise in emissions. It is heartening to witness the sheer number of airports from five continents all involved in Airport Carbon Accreditation. We need more initiatives of this standing and reach to guide us through this challenging time of transformation.”
Latest achievements
From 2019 and ACI EUROPE’s pioneering pledge committing all European airports to achieving net zero CO2 by 2050, through a homologue resolution at the global ACI level in 2021, followed by the landmark ICAO Long-Term Aspirational Goal voted in by the triennial assembly in October 2022, binding the global aviation industry with the net zero goal, the ambitions kept on rising.
Catering to these developments, in October 2020, the Airport Carbon Accreditation framework has been expanded to include two new levels: Level 4 ‘Transformation’ and Level 4+ ‘Transition’. Despite the novel and demanding nature of these new levels, and their introduction during the most acute of crises ever witnessed by the global aviation industry, the COVID-19 pandemic, airports in all world regions are eagerly embracing the challenge they present. Currently, 63 airports have managed to become certified at Levels 4/4+. Since the beginning of this year, the following airports managed to achieve:

  • Level 4+: Bangalore International Airport in India, Copenhagen Airport in Denmark, Hawke’s Bay Airport in New Zealand and the ten Portuguese airports managed by VINCI Airports, through its subsidiary ANA – including Lisbon, marking the first time an entire airport network within a country aligned with the Paris Agreement.
  • Level 4: Hong Kong International Airport, Brisbane and Newcastle airports in Australia.

The 500 airports milestone was reached thanks to a groundswell of airports joining the programme at all levels of the framework. The most recent airports to join Airport Carbon Accreditation in each world region are:

  • Africa: Pierrefonds Airport in La Réunion
  • Asia-Pacific: Newcastle Airport in Australia
  • Europe: Birmingham Airport in the UK
  • Latin America & the Caribbean: Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico
  • North America: Boston Logan International Airport in the US

Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE which runs the global programme commented:
Today’s news is a watershed moment for airport climate action. More than 500 airports including the busiest hubs on the planet are committed to decarbonising within the Airport Carbon Accreditation framework. While we note this excellent achievement, brought about by increasing ambition of airports in all world regions, we do not intend to stop there. The next frontier for the programme will be providing a blueprint for a net zero carbon airport operation. Watch this space!