This is the speech given by Angela Gittens, Director General of Airports Council International (ACI) World at the 2016 ATAG Global Sustainable Aviation Forum.

This is an industry that is accustomed to meeting challenges and being ambitious, even dreaming. Our commitment to tackling climate change, our ambitious goals, originally set out at ATAG’s 2008 Aviation and Environment Summit, may have started as a dream but now are merely ambitious:

The industry committed to improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020; stabilizing emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth; and reducing net emissions from aviation by 50% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. In a few minutes, David Melcher, Chair of the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, will tell you about the promising progress we’ve made and the work currently being done, but let me touch for the moment on some of the things the airport sector has been doing to help the aviation industry meet its goals, and what makes our collective progress as an industry possible.

ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is now fully global and at last count there were 156 accredited airports worldwide. Together, these airports welcome 32.6% of global passenger traffic. Moreover, several certified airports have been included as case studies in ATAG’s publication Aviation Climate Solutions. As an adjunct to the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, ACI recently released version 3.2 of Airport Carbon and Emissions Reduction Tool, a free application for airports of all sizes to track their carbon emissions.

In recognition of such efforts, we have an MoU with the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) that ACI World and ACI EUROPE signed during COP21 in Paris in December to promote UNFCCC’s Climate Neutral Now project and to encourage airports to reach Airport Carbon Accreditation levels 3 and 3+. ACI and the UNFCCC are developing a common work programme and communications plan and the UNFCCC has joined the advisory board of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

All aviation stakeholders have a role to play in combatting climate change, and without a commitment to coordination and collaboration, achieving our end goals would be impossible. As I look around the room, I see a large number of stakeholders here together under the ATAG umbrella to support a cause that is inarguably vital to the continued sustainable development of our industry.

And to the list of strong collaborators we must of course add ICAO. We look to ICAO to play a leading role in the effort to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation as we collectively work through a basket of measures that includes aircraft technologies, operational improvements, sustainable alternative fuels and, to fill any remaining emissions gaps, a global offsetting scheme.

To facilitate the development of an agreed offsetting scheme, ICAO’s Secretariat organized a series of Global Aviation Dialogues (GLADs) in 2015 and 2016. Seventy-nine States and twenty-two international organizations participated in 2015 while 60 States and 20 international organizations attended GLADs this year. ATAG actively participated in both GLADs in all regions.

Implementation of a global offsetting scheme is imperative to the industry reaching carbon neutral growth from 2020. This is nothing short of new way of doing business. I would like to thank everyone here for their commitment to “playing the long game” and understanding that the steps we take today will strengthen our industry tomorrow.

Thank you.