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To meet the environment challenges of the 21st century…this is the duty of airports!

Nov 2, 2020Airports, Emissions

“Envisa is ready to help your airport get started on the sustainability pathway” 

In a society where environmental issues have become a major concern, the aeronautical sector has to evolve in order to ensure a sustainable future, both for its industry and for the planet. As part of the ecosystem and as the first gateway between the population and the world of aviation, airports have a duty to set an example and take concrete steps to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In order to help catalyse the airports’ approach, the Airport Council International (ACI) decided to create a voluntary program in 2009, the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA), which is now open to airports from all around the world.

As aviation and environmental experts, Envisa consultants have been helping airports for many years to get into the program.  

What is the Airport Carbon Accreditation program?

The ACA program was created to enable airports to understand their sources of emissions, to control them and to take actions to reduce the induced pollution. Its aim is also to make the accredited airport gain recognition from the society and its peers for its commitment to tackle environmental issues, and to encourage others to follow its lead.

The ACA program has been also set up to enable authorities and decision makers to understand the impact of the airports around the world, in terms of activity, movements and emissions.

Based on 4 different levels of accreditation, it allows airports to evolve progressively and at an individual pace, from the identification of the sources of emissions to their reduction.

Once a level is achieved, the airport has to renew its accreditation every year or to evolve to the next one, so that the program ensures the continuous efforts from the airports.

Some figures about the Airport Carbon Accreditation

Worldwide, more than 300 airports are accredited, all levels combined, which represent about 45% of the global air passenger traffic.

The ACI estimates that on the period July 2018 – June 2019, 322,297 tonnes of CO2 were avoided thanks to the program, with the reduction actions taken by the airports.

More than 700,000 tonnes of CO2e were also offset by the airports, following recognised offsetting programs.

What the ACA program is actually measuring?

The Airport Carbon Accreditation Program focuses both on measured data but also efforts made by the airports to ensure the emissions are managed and reduced.

The program first requires actual consumption data from different sources, in order to measure the related emission. It is important for an airport to compute its emissions to understand where they are in terms of pollution, and on what department they have to act.

In addition, further in the program, the airport will also have to prove its management in order to achieve reduction targets, the involvement of the third parties present on site, and the actions taken to reduce emissions where the airport does not have direct control.

4 levels of accreditation

The programme is structured into 4 levels. Each year, the airport can decide to upgrade to the next level, or renew its accreditation for the same level.

It is also possible for an airport to join the programme at any level, as long as it meets the requirements of the previous ones.

In order to understand the different levels of the ACA program, just click here to get the requirements of each of them!

Added value for the airports

Joining the ACA program enables the airports to set up a strategy to manage its carbon emissions and to ensure its continuous improvements.

As part of the Airport Carbon Accreditation program, the airport will strengthen and benefit from the exchange of best practices between the platforms.

The recognition gained by the airport from the society will allow it to encourage a dynamic reduction in emissions beyond the airport perimeter, and to highlight the action taken by airports with regard to environmental issues.

The ACA program & COVID-19

Why would an airport bother to start an environmental procedure such as the ACA program, when the industry is severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

As aircraft movements and airlines services have been significantly reduced this year,  the emissions of an airport do not represent what would have been called “emission of a normal year”, so ACI has decided not to take into account the data for the entire year 2020.

This decision leads to two beneficial consequences for airports. Those who already joined the program will not have to renew their accreditation next year. As for those who consider joining the program in the coming months, their accreditation will hold for two years instead of one.

Envisa highly recommends airports to join the program before May 2021, in order to benefit from this decision.

How to join ACA program?

As an airport, once you decide to join the program, you will need guidance to make a good start. This is why we recommend you get in touch with professionals such as Envisa’s team.

At Envisa we will guide you on how to get into the program, and how to complete every requirement of it. With our experience, we are able to help you to collect the required data, to write the mandatory documents and much more, like facilitating meetings with your stakeholders.

Do not forget to learn more about our solutions to tackle environmental issues in the aviation sector, and to read about our previous work at airports.

Stay tuned for a new case study dedicated to the ACA program in the coming days.

Please, do not hesitate to contact me for any questions or remarks, and follow our activities on our LinkedIn page.


About the author



Environmental Engineer

Martin FORESTIER is an environmental engineer who graduated from Grenoble INP – Ense3.  He joined Envisa after working at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, Scotland. Passionate about aviation but also convinced by the environmental issues that the aeronautical sector is facing, he is the Airport Carbon Accreditation project leader at Envisa. Martin is giving training on the topic and presenting subsidy programs to airports and associate companies.  Besides, Martin is managing the emissions calculations of different GHG scopes delivered to airports. He has also experience with aircraft end-of-life cycle studies.

You can contact him on his email address: