Achieving a More Sustainable Airport Industry Every Day

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By Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO, ACI-NA

Airports are more than gateways to travel.  Airports are gateways to a more sustainable community. And while the calendar says today is Earth Day, airports are in the business of being stewards of the environment all year long. I am especially proud of the positive work North American airports undertake every day to be good neighbors, leading the way in establishing environmental best practices in local communities.

Earlier this week during our Airports@Work Conference in Austin, TX, ACI-NA recognized the airport industry’s very best in environmental achievement.  Each year, the ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards are presented to airports that strive persistently to preserve the environment. This year, we are proud to recognize Tampa International Airport, Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Vancouver Airport Authority, and Nashville International Airport for their continued leadership in protecting the environment, educating their community, and creating a more sustainable industry.

As they advance this important work, our member airports continue to impress in their ability to innovate and implement better and more sustainable strategies to protect and preserve the environment. Minimizing our industry’s environmental footprint not only protects valuable natural resources, but it also makes great business sense because we know that sustainable business habits reduce operating costs.

North American airports are also demonstrating global leadership and becoming better partners in the aviation system by managing and reducing their carbon footprint.  As North American airport participation in the Airport Carbon Accreditation program grows, ACI-NA applauds the significant steps airports are taking to be leaders in environmental stewardship.

ACI-NA joined Airport Carbon Accreditation and recognized Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as the first North American airport to attain certification in 2014.  Since ACI-NA joined the program, 12 North American airports have joined more than 150 global airports in attaining certification, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Montréal – Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport, Portland International Airport, Portland Hillsboro Airport, Portland Troutdale Airport, Victoria International Airport, Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, Denver International Airport, Honolulu International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Winnipeg Richardson International Airport.

Join me in congratulating San Francisco and Winnipeg as the newest members of the Airport Carbon Accreditation family.  By achieving the ambitious goals of Airport Carbon Accreditation, these airports are setting our industry on a path toward continued success in innovation and sustainability.

These powerful results are not because of ACI-NA.  This leadership in environmental stewardship comes directly from engaged industry through ACI-NA’s Environmental Affairs Committee.  ACI-NA’s Environmental Affairs Committee – one of our largest and fastest growing committees – is responsible for the development and implementation of ACI-NA environmental policy positions on issues such as noise, air quality, water quality, waste management, wildlife, and environmental review processes. Over the last few years, this group has undertaken major industry projects to set our industry on a course for a more sustainable future, and their work is paying off on Earth Day and every day.