Rotterdam The Hague Airport is world’s first to achieve carbon accreditation straight in at new highest level

July 8, 2021

Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) in the Netherlands has achieved Level 4+ ‘Transition’ of Airport Carbon Accreditation, the only global carbon standard for airports. The successful first-time accreditation at the highest level of the renowned CO2 reduction programme is a worldwide first and a testament to RTHA’s exceptional carbon management strategy, fully aligned with global climate goals.

Attaining Level 4+ represents a step change in the carbon management of an airport, requiring setup of a long-term goal and strategy oriented towards absolute emissions reductions, including an emissions trajectory and interim milestones. RTHA’s actions to realise tangible CO2 emissions reductions of its own emissions are now aligned with the Paris Agreement (global warming limited to below 2°C and ideally 1.5°C). The airport has also included broader emissions in its carbon footprint that include all the significant operational sources on- and off-site. Furthermore, it has demonstrated evidence of actively engaging and leading its stakeholders towards delivering emissions reductions.

Amongst other activities, the airport’s actions include investment in 100% renewable energy powering their terminal and buildings, on-site solar power generation and a new contract for airport vehicles in 2021 with stringent sustainability requirements. The foundation Rotterdam The Hague Innovation Airport (RHIA) is also working with authorities, business and knowledge institutes to stimulate and trial innovations. Finally, the airport has compensated for residual emissions with CDM GOLD STANDARD credits which will provide clean sustainable electricity to local grid in rural India.

Level 4+ accreditation is a recognition of our efforts in recent years to weave sustainability into the airport’s DNA and into our plans for the future,” said Michelle Samson, Strategy and Sustainability Advisor at RTHA. “As an airport, we want to reduce our impact on the environment and the climate and thus assume our social and environmental responsibility. We have a goal of becoming emission-free for all airport ground operations in 2030 and all land-related activities by 2045. With Level 4+, all steps towards achieving this objective have now been independently assessed and accredited.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General ACI EUROPE said: “We are thrilled to see Rotterdam The Hague Airport becoming the first airport in the world to join Airport Carbon Accreditation directly at the recently introduced Level 4+. This achievement demonstrates the airport’s firm commitment to invest in a more sustainable future for aviation and for the region it serves.

He added: “By setting the target to reach Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2045 and including third party emissions into the target scope, Rotterdam The Hague Airport is clearly leading the way in working towards decarbonisation. It is also aligning its strategy with the new EU climate goals. This recognition is also a clear signal that, despite the lasting impacts of the ongoing crisis, airports of all sizes are strengthening their commitment to operate in a more sustainable way and to protect their local communities from climate change.’’


Despite the difficulties faced by the global airport industry, its commitment to fighting climate change remains unchallenged. This is illustrated by the continued growth in Airport Carbon Accreditation participation across the world, most recently tallying 349 accredited airports. The latest airports to join the programme in each region are:
• Perth Airport in Australia, Asia-Pacific (Level 1);
• Kisumu International Airport, Eldoret International Airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Moi International Airport, Maya Maya International Airport in Kenya, Africa (all Level 1);
• Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport in France, Milas Bodrum Airport in Turkey, Oostende-Brugge International Airport and Antwerp International Airport in Belgium, Europe (all Level 1);
• Trois-Rivières Airport and Fort McMurray International Airport in Canada, North America (all Level 1);
• Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Costa Rica, Latin America & Caribbean (Level 2).
Progress has also been achieved through airports moving to higher levels of accreditation. For instance, the latest airports to achieve carbon neutrality are Vancouver International Airport in Canada and Dublin Airport in Ireland.

To date, the following airports have achieved the highest levels of Airport Carbon Accreditation:
• Level 4 ‘Transformation’: Christchurch Airport in New Zealand
• Level 4+ ‘Transition’: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in the US, Indira Gandhi International Airport in India, Rome Fiumicino and Rome Ciampino Airports in Italy, Rotterdam The Hague Airport in the Netherlands.