Heathrow CEO calls for global action on climate change


Geneva - Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye is calling for global leaders to take action to cut carbon emissions in a panel discussion at the Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva, Switzerland today. Mr. Holland-Kaye will highlight the difference Heathrow’s success stories in carbon reduction have made. Heathrow is a global leader in carbon reduction and its Terminal 2, the Heathrow Commuter Programme and the Heathrow Sustainability Partnership have all been included in Aviation Climate Solutions, a report outlining 100 international aviation initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the industry’s impact on climate change.

As part of the airport’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, Heathrow has achieved a Level 3 Airport Carbon Accreditation, which confirms the airport has ‘optimised’ its carbon footprint reduction by engaging with third parties when measuring and reducing its carbon footprint. Heathrow has committed to a further 34% reduction in CO2 emissions from energy used in buildings by 2020, as well as reducing CO2 from the airports vehicles by a rapid transformation of the Heathrow Airport Ltd fleet of cars and small vans to electric by 2020.

Heathrow has also been a long-standing supporter of tackling emissions from flights through a market-based measure to address our impact on climate change and supported aviation’s inclusion in the European Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012, as a first to a global carbon emissions trading scheme.  

Heathrow Airport, as a member of the Airports Council International, has signed an open letter at the conference calling for governments to support the aviation industry’s approach to climate change, including improved efficiency in air traffic management, and accelerating research for alternative fuels and new technology. In particular the letter calls for the industry’s global regulator, ICAO, to agree a mandatory carbon offset scheme to be introduced in 2020. This approach will allow the industry to stabilise its net CO2 emissions from 2020 through carbon-neutral growth, where traffic growth would be offset through UN-certified carbon reductions in other sectors. The aviation industry will also reduce net CO2 emissions from aviation to half of what they were in 2005, by 2050.

Due to these pragmatic steps, the Airports Commission set up by the Prime Minister has found that building and operating a third runway at Heathrow is compatible with the UK meeting its long-term climate change reduction targets. In fact, the introduction of a mandatory global carbon offset scheme by ICAO would mean that the CO2 from the additional flights as a result of Heathrow’s new runway would also be offset.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Chief Executive, said: 

“Heathrow’s ambition is to be the world’s most responsible hub airport and to do that we must find innovative solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges, including those around carbon. Our work in Terminal 2, the Heathrow Commuter Programme and the Heathrow Sustainability Partnership are examples of innovation in action and we are proud they are being cited in Aviation Climate Solutions. We know we cannot do this alone, and we will continue to work with partners in the airport, and our international industry counterparts gathered at the conference today, to ensure we remain at the cutting-edge of green innovations and continue to deliver leading environmental results.”

Michael Gill, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group, a cross-industry association hosting the conference, said:

“Aviation plays a vital role in the world economy, providing connectivity for people and business. Our industry has also taken a lead in climate action, putting in place a comprehensive framework and goals to reduce emissions from air transport. The Aviation Climate Solutions are a set of case studies showing how different parts of the industry all over the world, including Heathrow Airport are working together to reduce our climate impact.”

Terminal 2 is the only BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s environmental assessment methodology) certified airport terminal and its cutting-edge sustainable design, and use of biomass fuel is one measure which has helped to reduce Heathrow’s C02 emissions by almost 20% since 1990.   

Heathrow’s Sustainability Partnership (HSP) and the Heathrow Commuter Programme are collaborative solutions to solving the C02 challenges of an airport as large and varied as Heathrow.  Based on cooperation amongst partners, the HSP has created an Energy Code of Practice and instituted a cooking oil recycling club where the airport’s restaurant’s donate their oil for local private hire companies’ bio-fuels.  The Heathrow Commuter programme reduced the use of single-occupancy vehicles by colleagues at the airport by hosting includes the largest single-sire car share scheme in the world, and subsidizing a free travel zone around the airport, as well as a ‘cycle to work’ scheme.