In June 2021, ACI World and the five ACI regions announced the industry goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In this issue, we are pleased to have Stefano Baronci, Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific, to share his views on this industry goal.

The Marathon to Net Zero Carbon Emissions
Earlier this year, the airport sector took a big step forward in addressing the climate emergency. Globally and collectively, our sector set a long-term goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. This ambitious goal recognises the future of aviation depends on our dedication to the cause of sustainability.

The goal by no means diminishes the great environmental progress already made at many airports in Asia Pacific and the Middle East - the region represented by our trade association. By publicly announcing a long-term carbon goal, we are stepping up our industry leadership and demonstrating decisive action. The global goal will help drive action and identify common challenges and opportunities which can be tackled together. As our industry gradually transitions out of pandemic operations and resumes its growth trajectory, how can airports do more sustainably?

The report underpinning the long-term carbon goal study acknowledges all airports operate under different and often challenging conditions, both in terms of availability and access to renewable energy. This may either encourage or prevent them from being able to reduce their own emissions at the same rate and scale.

We openly acknowledge that due to the expected traffic growth, airports in Asia Pacific and the Middle East will need to go the extra mile to achieve the net zero goal. Close collaboration and partnerships with governments and industry and the development of appropriate sustainable business cases will be essential. On top of that, we will ultimately need to remove carbon with negative emissions technologies.

The long-term carbon goal is aspirational, designed to be adopted by individual airports on a voluntary basis. Many airports have already set their goals, supported by comprehensive and detailed roadmaps. Airports' ability to influence the transition will rely on their ability to reduce operational emissions. However, since more than 80% of airport emissions are from electricity use, a heavy reliance will be placed on greening the grid. Hence a strong focus on advocacy is required, an endeavour supported by ACI Asia-Pacific.

The journey to net zero carbon emissions is a marathon effort our industry is ready for.
Stefano Baronci
Director General
ACI Asia-Pacific

Global Airport Sector Long-term Carbon Goal -  from AAHK's Perspective   

AAHK is developing a new long-term carbon reduction target which will focus on achieving absolute emissions reductions and align with local and industry targets, including the ACI Long-term Carbon Goal of net zero carbon by 2050. 

Kristy Tan, Manager, Sustainability of AAHK, shares more details on AAHK's view on the global airport sector long-term carbon goal, and its approach to carbon management and action plans to meet the industry goal.

Q: What is AAHK's view on the global airport sector net zero carbon goal by 2050?

We are pleased to see that ACI World has taken a leading role to work with all regions and their airport members to carry out the ACI World Long Term Carbon Goal Study and establish a net zero goal at a global level that airports can commit to reaching. The Study has encouraged global collaboration to address the Paris Agreement and clearly indicated that all airport members have a role to play in significantly curbing emissions.

We will work with our business partners to ensure the sector goal is met.
Q: What was AAHK's involvement in setting this goal?

As carbon management is one of our flagship programmes, we believed it was very important to sponsor and be actively involved in this meaningful project. We worked with other leading airport representatives to develop a compelling case for a sector target, set out the scope of works for the Study and, once in implementation, review deliverables as a study taskforce member. In particular, we strongly participated in the early preparation stage when our representative chaired the ACI World Environment Standing Committee.
Q: Please briefly explain AAHK's approach to carbon management.

As the airport operator, AAHK has a clear responsibility to take the lead in managing and reducing HKIA's carbon footprint. Over 60% of carbon emissions at HKIA come from our business partners. To this end, we have to work closely with them as part of the HKIA Carbon Reduction Programme to provide a platform for business partners to measure, reduce and report carbon emissions and share best practices. We have strengthened our collaboration with business partners in our second carbon reduction pledge through the implementation of four support strategies to help them achieve the target, including a senior executive roundtable, a carbon reduction award, a technical working group and a benchmarking scheme.

For our next pledge, we will further enhance these support strategies to address our business partners' barriers to implementing carbon reduction initiatives. For example, we will focus on supporting innovation and piloting new technologies through the establishment of technology working groups and we will share findings across the airport community to scale up efficiencies where possible.
Q: What is AAHK doing to meet the industry net zero carbon goal by 2050?

We are completing a study to develop HKIA's long-term carbon reduction target, which will be an absolute target that aligns with the industry net zero carbon goal, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5oC scenario and the HKSAR Government's 2050 carbon neutrality target by 2050. A key part of the study is to engage our business partners and harness their support to commit to the same target and make HKIA a leading airport in carbon. We will continue to leverage different platforms, including the ACI regional and world environment committee meetings, to share our carbon management best practices with other airports.

We will announce our new target in due course, including an action plan detailing our approach and strategy of achieving the target. Stay tuned!
Floral photo created by -
Major Airports Setting Net Zero Carbon Emissions Targets

In 2018, a Special Report from the IPCC clearly stated that limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require rapid and far-reaching transition in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050.

ACI Europe initially launched its commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in June 2019. Since then, there has been an increasing number of airports adopting similar goals to reach net zero by 2050 or earlier. For example:
  • Frankfurt Airport (Germany) - The airport aims to reach net zero by 2050 by leveraging savings in four areas - energy consumption in infrastructure, energy consumption in traffic and transport, energy mix, and smart air conditioning. Learn more.
  • Heathrow Airport (United Kingdom) - Under its Target Net Zero, the airport is working towards zero-carbon by the mid-2030s by working with partners to decarbonise the airports infrastructure and flights. Learn more.
  • Narita International Airport (Japan) - The Sustainable NRT 2050 outlines Narita Airport's long-term strategy towards a net zero airport by 2050 through various climate change initiatives to decarbonise airport infrastructure. Learn more.
  • Toronto Pearson Airport (Canada) - The airport's new environmental policy commits the airport to achieve net zero by 2050 by reducing emissions footprint, responsible use of energy, and preference to renewable energy sources. Learn more.

Accolades on AAHK's Syndicated Loan Facilities

AAHK's five-year HK$35 billion syndicated loan facilities were recognised as the Airport Deal of the Year - Global and Airport Deal of the Year - Hong Kong in The Asset Triple A Infrastructure Awards 2021. It was the first corporate syndicated loan in Hong Kong that is compliant with the Equator Principles, a risk management framework adopted by financial institutions for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risks in projects.

The loan facilities previously won the Best Investment Grade Syndicated Loan in the GlobalCapital Asia Awards 2020 and the Best Syndicated Loan in The Asset Triple A Sustainable Capital Markets Regional Awards 2020.

Two Pilot Schemes Enhance Marine Ecology

AAHK recently deployed 100 artificial reef (AR) units in waters to the west of HKIA's south runway, very close to the future North Lantau Marine Park. The ARs are a pilot scheme intended to determine if these micro-marine habitats are able to enhance local marine ecology and fisheries resources in its vicinity. AAHK is also implementing a pilot study to quantify the value of deploying oyster reefs at selected locations along the Three-Runway System's newly formed seawall. This pilot aims to recreate and encourage a proliferation of shellfish and other marine life along the artificial seawall. AAHK is monitoring the effectiveness of these two pilot schemes over the next 12 months.


Solar Panels Installed at Tradeport

Tradeport Hong Kong held an inauguration ceremony to launch its solar panel system in June. The system consists of more than 240 solar panels spanning a total of 1,000 square metres on the rooftop of the Tradeport Logistics Centre at HKIA. The solar panels can generate electricity up to a maximum of 100kW.

Hactl Showcases Green Credentials in New Video

 Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) released a new video showcasing and celebrating its environmental achievements in recent years. The video features sharing from Hactl's Chief Executive and their business partners, and summaries Hactl's environmental initiatives. Among other notable achievements, Hactl has consistently recycled 90% of paper, cardboard and plastics, and has installed 1,600 sqm of solar panel on its SuperTerminal 1 rooftop to promote the use of renewable energy.
We are eager to share and showcase environmental and sustainability practices. Please contact Zara Lo and Iris Pang to discuss your ideas.
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