While most efforts to mitigate the climate impact of aviation are concentrated on fuel consumption (for very good reason), it is important to remember that other branches of the aviation industry, such as airports and manufacturers, also have a duty to reduce their environmental impact. It is here that some fairly large carbon reductions can be achieved and the reliance on unsustainable power sources less constricting.
That is why it is important to highlight work such as that being done by Swedavia, the Swedish group that operates ten airports in the country. Swedavia prides itself on being a sustainable airport company and an international role model when it comes to climate action. Swedavia’s stated goal is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and minimise energy use through a range of innovative policies.
As far back as 2006, Swedavia became a climate-neutral organisation, meaning its services are provided without a negative climate impact. Swedavia has undertaken a number of measures to ensure that its GHG emissions are as low as possible, including purchasing only ‘green’ electricity for use in their operations, using only environmentally-certified cars and heating their buildings through biofuels. Swedavia has also utilised carbon offset schemes by investing in carbon credits from developing countries. These offsets are certified through the UN-accredited Clean Development Mechanism, ensuring their credibility.
One of the main reasons for Swedavias’s progress in the environmental aspect of their operations is achievement of the highest level of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme for all its airports. Out of the 15 European airports that received the award in 2014, 10 were operated by Swedavia, proving their commitment to environmental improvement. It is hoped that Swedavia’s example of how through relatively little cost, all airports can commit to carbon neutrality and play a vital role in achieving the aviation sector’s ambitious climate goals.