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Going green


Airport World turns the spotlight on the green initiatives of three North American airports – Québec City Jean Lesage (YQB), San Diego (SAN) and Vancouver (YVR).

YVR’s ambitious new Environmental Management Plan

Vancouver International Airport’s 2020-2024 Environmental Management Plan (EMP) outlines the gateway’s commitment to become carbon neutral in 2020 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, while connecting British Columbia proudly to the world.

“Environmental stewardship is central to who we are and how we operate at YVR. As we work to advance our position as a world class hub airport, we are looking ahead with a heightened sense of responsibility to continue building a sustainable future for YVR,” says Vancouver Airport Authority’s environment director, Marion Town.

“Our plan recognises the importance of further reducing YVR’s environmental footprint and working together with our many business partners to support their climate action goals.”

YVR strives to be a leader in airport sustainability and develops an EMP every five years to outline its environmental priorities. Under its previous plan, YVR led a number of actions to reduce its environmental impact, successfully reducing emissions, water use and waste to landfill.

It also invested in one of Canada’s largest GeoExchange plants to bolster its ability to continue to reduce carbon emissions and became the world’s first airport to receive Salmon-Safe certification. 

According to the airport authority, YVR’s 2020-2024 EMP builds on the success of the previous plan and, in addition to carbon reduction, outlines clear, measurable targets to continue to conserve water, reduce waste and improve ecosystem health.

Specifically, targets for YVR over the next five years are to:

  • Become carbon neutral in 2020 and continue to reduce emissions to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050
  • Improve water use efficiency across Sea Island by 50%
    per passenger
  • Divert 60% of airport waste from landfill
  • Continue to enhance and protect the ecosystem of Sea Island, including maintaining the airport’s Salmon-Safe certification

Climate Leadership Award for San Diego

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has received a Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management at the US’s annual Climate Leadership Conference.

In addition, Brendan Reed, the airport authority’s director of planning and environmental affairs has received an Individual Leadership award for his efforts in environmental operations and strategies.

The Climate Leadership Conference and Awards bring together forward-thinking leaders from business, government, academia, and the non-profit community to address climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions. Awardees are honoured for exemplary corporate, organisational, and individual leadership in reducing carbon pollution and addressing climate change.

“It’s an honour to have the airport authority as well as our leadership recognised at this year’s Climate Leadership Conference and Awards,” said airport president and CEO, Kim Becker.

“We are committed to sustainable business practices and works closely with our community, stakeholders and employees to address and limit environmental concerns at the airport. Thank you to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry for recognising our efforts.”

Initiatives such as committing to convert approximately 80% of ground support equipment to alternative fuels by 2024, and supplying adequate electric vehicle charging infrastructure to meet the forthcoming demand for electric vehicles for ground support equipment, proved instrumental to the airport winning the award.

Québec City Jean Lesage joins exclusive club

Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases have earned it Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ status in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

Thanks to numerous energy-saving measures in recent years, YQB has succeeded in reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 44% compared to 2016, even though the terminal has expanded by 60%.

In order to achieve ACA Level 3 accreditation, YQB engaged its stakeholders in its efforts to reduce GHG emissions and, in the coming months, will take part in an air emissions management committee that will prepare concerted actions to limit GHG production at the airport.

“Protecting the environment is a priority for YQB, and the organisation is working constantly to ensure that its practices meet the highest environmental standards in the industry,” enthused president and CEO, Stéphane Poirier.

“YQB has established several environmental measures that have made Québec City’s airport one of the most energy-efficient in North America. This certification shows once again that our efforts to limit the emissions from our own energy use are paying off.”

Only 17 airports in North America have reached Level 3 certification in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, and just six of those are in Canada.

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