Level 3 Optimization

At Level 3 “Optimization” of Airport Carbon Accreditation, airports are required to involve third parties in their carbon footprint management. Third parties include various service providers such as airlines and independent ground handling companies, air traffic control, and others working on the airport site. It also includes agreeing with authorities and users on modes of surface access (road, rail).

How does it succeed?

To achieve this level of accreditation, an airport must:

  • Meet all the requirements of “Mapping” and “Reducing”
  • Extending the carbon footprint to include a range of Scope 3 emissions (in accordance with the GHG Protocol)
  • Scope 3 emissions to be measured include, among others:

– landing and take-off cycle emissions

– surface access to the airport for passengers and staff

– business travel emissions of staff

  • Providing evidence of interaction with third party operators to reduce carbon emissions based on the wider airport

More information

It relies on cooperation with airlines and service providers in the airport area, such as airports, ground handling and catering companies. However, these services also emit carbon and require interaction with providers for an overall reduction in carbon footprint.

When assessing Stakeholder Engagement for Level 3, an airport must ensure that the following requirements are met as a minimum:

  • Identification and classification of stakeholders that the airport can guide and influence
  • Allocating clear roles and responsibilities to build and facilitate partnerships with key stakeholders
  • Presentation of a clear implementation plan of the intended approach to engage stakeholders, including suggested actions and timings

Specific examples of ways an airport can work with stakeholders to reduce carbon emissions include:

  • Awareness and behavior campaigns to raise the profile of energy efficiency and low carbon practices across the airport community. This may include campaigns that encourage certain behaviors such as vehicle shutdown / reduced idle time.
  • Official airport-wide plans to encourage and facilitate certain personal or operational practices or selection of equipment or vehicles. For example, ridesharing programs, clean vehicle schemes, and waste minimization and recycling programs.
  • Working with key business partners to ensure they understand airport policy, goals and objectives and to support implementation. For example, through groups or advisory committees representing airport tenants and airside operators.
  • Working with airport planners and third parties to ensure that an airport’s infrastructure plans reflect and implement the airport’s carbon reduction targets, and facilitate the reduction of emissions from major third parties. An example would be working with airlines to reduce the use of Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) and taxi times.
  • Training of third parties on energy efficiency and carbon management techniques.
  • Setting minimum performance standards for, for example, building/retail unit refurbishment, operational practices and vehicle fleets.
  • Use of incentives and cost structures to encourage the use of good practice and efficient means, such as differential charging for lower/higher emission aircraft.
  • Adding carbon/energy considerations to existing third party lease/contract terms and/or incorporating performance and implementation controls in airport audit processes.
  • Forming strategic partnerships with key airport operators, including airlines or contractors, for example, to collaborate on investment projects and opportunities related to Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

Renewal Requirements

  • Complying with all level 2 accreditation renewal requirements, specifying that the carbon footprint also includes specific scope 3 emissions as described above.
  • Revised Stakeholder Engagement Plan. The plan will be reviewed at least every three years and will be reviewed by stakeholders, joint ventures, goal achievement, training and awareness etc. It will contain updated information about. In the interim years, the airport will provide evidence for the implementation of the plan via the online application.

Level 3+ Objectivity

How to achieve?

To achieve this level of accreditation, an airport must:

  • Meet all the requirements of ‘Mapping’, ‘Reduction’ and ‘Optimization’
  • Offset the remaining Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions, as well as emissions from staff business travel, using internationally accepted offsets

Carbon neutrality is achieved when the remaining airport emissions are offset by purchasing carbon credits. Carbon offsetting funds other projects that reduce carbon dioxide to compensate for emissions that cannot be completely eliminated by the airport. For example, an airport might pay for a wind power plant to replace a coal-fired power plant.

Airport Carbon Accreditation has developed a bespoke Offsetting Handbook based on a study conducted by environmental consultancy Ecofys. Airports that decide to offset their remaining emissions are encouraged to consult this comprehensive guide to choosing reliable carbon credits.

One of the key requirements of Level 3+ ‘Objectivity’ is that airports continue with balancing only after reducing their emissions as much as possible. To help airports assess whether they are already using their full available emission reduction potential, Airport Carbon Accreditation provides specific Guidance on Emissions Reduction Before Balancing.

Airport Carbon Accreditation supports UNFCCC’s ‘Climate Neutral Now’ campaign