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Airport Carbon Accreditation programme launches new top level


Airports Council International today officially launched Level 5 certification of its global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme at the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP28).

Amsterdam Schiphol, Christchurch, Göteborg Landvetter, Madeira, Malmö and Rotterdam The Hague airports are among the first 10 airports on the planet to reach the new highest certification level in the programme designed to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint.

The introduction of Level 5 builds on the trajectory of evolution set by the introduction of Levels 4 and 4+ in 2020. These earlier levels already certify airports for following a CO2 emissions reduction pathway aligned with the objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming by 1.5°C/2°C.

Level 5 thus recognises the ultimate achievement and maturity in airport carbon management, based on the following requirements:

•  Extensive carbon reduction in absolute terms: To achieve Level 5, airports need to reach and maintain ≥ 90% absolute CO2 emissions reductions in Scope 1 and 2 in alignment with the ISO Net Zero Guidelines and commit to achieving net zero in Scope 3 by 2050 or sooner.

•  Investment in carbon removal: Any residual emissions need to be removed from the atmosphere through investment in credible carbon removal projects. To guide airports in this endeavour, ACI has analysed the carbon removal options available and outlined the most effective removal strategies in the updated edition of the Airport Carbon Accreditation Offset Guidance Document.

•  Establishment of a Carbon Management Plan: Level 5 accredited airports need to outline detailed steps to achieve their emissions reduction targets, as part of their Carbon Management Plan.

•  Extended carbon footprint: Airports need to submit a verified carbon footprint for Scope 1 and 2 (direct and indirect emissions under the airport’s control) and all relevant categories of Scope 3 (indirect emissions outside of the airport’s control) as per the requirements of the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Guidance, notably covering all significant upstream and downstream activities from third parties – including airlines.

•  Establishment of a Stakeholder Partnership Plan: Underpinning airports’ commitment to net zero in Scope 3, Level 5 accreditation requires the setup of a Stakeholder Partnership Plan, engaging with the entire airport ecosystem at a much deeper level, and actively driving third parties towards delivering emissions reductions themselves. The Plan needs to include regular milestones to gauge progress towards reaching net zero across the airport site.

As has been done since the inception of Airport Carbon Accreditation for all accreditation levels, ACI will keep the requirements of Level 5 under regular review based on the latest science to ensure their continued robustness.<

Stefano Baronci, director general of ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East, said: “The Airport Carbon Accreditation is the only tool empowering airports in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Several airports in our region have been consistently improving their accreditation levels, marking great strides in carbon management strategies.

“The latest introduction of ACA Level 5 calls for a greater push towards achieving net zero emissions objectives. This also sets a new standard, motivating airports to adopt extensive measures in their pursuit of achieving net zero emissions.

“Congratulations to Christchurch International Airport, a pioneer of airport sustainability, for being among the first airports in the world to reach level 5 ACA programme. This achievement not only marks a significant milestone for Christchurch Airport but also sets a benchmark for the entire airport industry in our region and beyond to do more towards the net zero emissions goal before 2050.

“To support our airport members, ACI APAC & MID will also play its part by assisting airports to develop roadmaps to achieve their net-zero goals. Mr. Stefano Baronci, Director General- ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East.”

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 its levels of certification: ‘Mapping’, ‘Reduction’, ‘Optimisation’, ‘Neutrality’, ‘Transformation’, ‘Transition’ and ‘Level 5’.

In addition to today’s ACA news, ACI World has released Version 7 of the Airport Carbon and Emissions Reporting Tool (ACERT), a complimentary resources that has consistently helped airports worldwide to identify, quantify and manage their greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest version is compatible with all Levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program and is available in English, French, and Spanish.

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