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Hawke’s Bay Airport achieves first step towards carbon neutral status

Hawke’s Bay Airport has succeeded in its first step towards carbon neutrality, gaining Level 1 of the internationally recognised Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the airport has completed the mapping stage of the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation programme and is well underway to becoming New Zealand’s first carbon neutral airport.

“We are very pleased to gain Level 1 as we work towards realising our aspiration to be New Zealand’s most sustainable and innovative airport,” Mr Ainslie said.

The programme independently assesses and recognises the efforts of airports to manage and reduce carbon emissions through 4 levels of certification – Mapping, Reduction, Optimisation and Neutrality. Two other New Zealand airports – Palmerston North and Christchurch have also joined the programme along with around 300 others from around the world

With the mapping stage now complete, the focus moves to reduction and optimisation. Since it began tracking its emissions the airport has already seen a noticeable improvement due largely to design improvements delivered by the redeveloped terminal.

“Although it’s early days, the new building is already delivering some impressive results in terms of energy efficiency. In January our electricity usage was down significantly on the year prior, due largely to LED lighting and efficient cooling systems being operational in the new arrivals and departures halls. We expect this trend to continue beyond completion of the project at the end of the year,” Mr Ainslie said.

The airport will be moving to a carbon neutral certified energy supplier and is currently undertaking due diligence on a large scale renewable energy solar farm onsite, which Mr Ainslie said will greatly contribute towards carbon neutral status. There are also plans to incorporate carparks for EV’s and charging provision and parking for E bikes.

The Airport Board has committed to an ambitious Sustainability Framework which is underpinned by the four key pillars of financial return, environmental excellence, social responsibility and operation efficiency, he adds.

“Our aim is to be New Zealand’s most sustainable airport and our framework is at the forefront of us achieving this. It anchors our medium and long term strategic imperatives and provides the foundations to our updated masterplan that will be released for public comment over the coming months. Sustainability will be at the heart of everything we do.

ABOUT Airport Carbon Accreditation

ACI launched the Airport Carbon Accreditation in 2009 after member airports adopted a landmark resolution on Climate Change to reduce carbon emissions from their operations with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Airport Carbon Accreditation is an independent, voluntary programme administered by WSP, an international consultancy appointed by ACI EUROPE to enforce the accreditation criteria for airports on an annual basis.

Airports applying to become accredited must have their carbon footprints independently verified in accordance with ISO14064 (Greenhouse Gas Accounting). Evidence of this must be provided to the programme administrator (WSP) together with all claims regarding carbon management processes which must also be independently verified.

The definitions of emissions footprints used by Airport Carbon Accreditation follow the principles of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) “Greenhouse Gas Protocol” Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. When considering the emissions from aircraft within the airport perimeter and on final approach and initial departure, Airport Carbon Accreditation uses the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) definition of the Landing-Take Off cycle and requires airports to comply with these definitions.