Airport Carbon Accreditation

Mobility is a basic human need but it goes hand in hand with energy consumption and all its consequences. In today's globalized world, the theme of mobility surrounds us, and air travel is becoming increasingly widespread. Airports bring undeniable benefits to society: their ability to connect places, people and products is unmatched by any other means of transport.

However, there is also the need to work to improve the reputation of air transport in terms of environmental efficiency and carbon reduction. Following years of individual work to address the local environmental impact, airports are now working collectively through Airport Carbon Accreditation, which is authorizing airports' efforts to make more progress in managing, reducing and eventually neutralizing carbon emissions and all greenhouse gases in general.

This challenge has been the focus of a historic climate-change debate in June 2008 among ACI Europe members, who undertook to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Thus, a year later, in June 2009, the Airport Carbon Accreditation was launched. The initiative is a direct consequence of the climate change resolution adopted in June 2008 by the annual assembly of ACI Europe, and has been approved by both the European Civil Aviation Conference and Eurocontrol.

The definitions of carbon footprints used by Airport Carbon Accreditation follow the principles of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Airport Carbon Accreditation is the certification for carbon dioxide management for airports. To apply for certification at one of the 4 levels of the programme, airports must have their carbon footprint independently verified in accordance with ISO 14064-3. The programme assesses and acknowledges the efforts of airports to manage and reduce carbon emissions on four levels:

  • Mapping;
  • Reduction;
  • Optimization;
  • Neutrality.

The first three levels of the programme require increasing levels of management and engagement with business partners. The fourth level of accreditation is aimed at airports that ultimately want to offset the residual emissions.

Levels of the framework

Venice Marco Polo Airport achieved the 3+ NEUTRALITY level, the maximum provided by the Airport Carbon Accreditation program.

Carbon neutrality is reached when the net carbon dioxide emissions for a full year equals to zero (i.e. when the airport absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide as it produces). Achieving carbon neutrality for an airport is almost impossible without help from outside. Therefore, along with many other sectors, airports aim to offset carbon to reach this solution. The carbon-offset operation is providing funds and resources to other projects that reduce carbon dioxide emissions, in order to compensate those emissions which cannot be eliminated.

Among the main goals reiterated in the Master Plan is the airport's commitment to reduce its greenhouse gases emissions. Thanks to the work done so far and the path that the company intends to pursue, which is designed to operate in a sustainable way, the commitment is to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 2020 by 30% compared to the base year of 2011.


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