National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Sustainability Practices (2008)

Chapter: CHAPTER NINE Conclusions

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Page 43
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER NINE Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2008. Airport Sustainability Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13674.
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Page 43
Page 44
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER NINE Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2008. Airport Sustainability Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13674.
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Page 44

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41 lations were responsible for many of the environmental practices they are implementing. Economic sustainability practices focused more on com- munity contributions than on sustainable procurement or investment in research and development. Social practices in place at airports include public aware- ness and education, stakeholder relationships, employee practices and procedures, sustainable transportation initia- tives, alleviating road congestion, ensuring accessibility, local culture and heritage, indoor environmental quality, and employee and passenger well-being. Frequently cited social practices at U.S. and non-U.S. airports included employee practices and procedures, sustainable transportation initia- tives, and measures to alleviate road congestion. Measures to enhance local identity, culture, and heritage; indoor environmental quality; and employee well-being were less prevalent. Overall, the airport industry appears to be moving toward more holistic sustainability approaches to their organiza- tions and operations. Most emphasis is on environmental initiatives, but increasingly social and economic practices are being viewed as equally important and prioritized as highly as environmental practices. Funding is a challenge for sustainability practices, but drivers such as climate change are prompting airports to invest in managing these risks to their operations, business, and stakeholders over the long term. Suggestions for additional research and actions include: Use the survey results to create sustainability guide-• lines for airports. Research the three sustainability areas (environmental, • economic, and social) separately and in depth. Ensure that governance of sustainability practices at • airports targets developing a business plan and strat- egy for implementation. Partner with the Global Reporting Initiative to develop • an airport sector supplement of the G3 guidelines. Query the airports further on their practices and create • a best practice sustainability in airports document with details on where, when, how, and why airports have implemented various practices. CHAPTER NINE concLUsions The survey revealed that U.S. and non-U.S. airports are implementing a number of initiatives that fit within the definition of sustainability practices. Survey respondents cited regulations and airport policy as the key drivers for sustainability practices today; they expect stakeholder concerns and global issues such as cli- mate change to be the key drivers in the future. Respondents from large and medium U.S. airports identified energy effi- ciency, carbon emission reductions, and green building prac- tices as key focus areas for the next five years. Respondents from small and non-hub U.S. airports identified other priori- ties for the future related to economic growth and self-suf- ficiency. Respondents in Europe cited noise, aesthetics, and sustainable transportation practices as key focus areas going forward; respondents from Asia and Canada mentioned corporate social responsibility and strategic environmental management at the governance level. For both U.S. and non-U.S. airports, funding was the number one barrier to the implementation of sustainability practices. Other barriers were lack of staffing and manage- ment support, and the absence of an environmental culture in their airport organization. Most respondents said that environmental training is offered at their airport; fewer respondents said that economic and social sustainability training is offered. Environmental public reporting—either as part of an annual report or in a separate document—is common. Few respondents said that their airport reported environmen- tal, social, and economic performance together. Only four respondents (three continental European and one Canadian) said that their airport uses the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines for sustainability performance. Most respondents from large U.S. airports and non-U.S. airports gave their environmental performance a high rat- ing. In the United States, medium and non-hub airports rated their environmental performance lower, and small airports rated their performance lowest of all. The survey reveals a focus on climate change, land use, water, waste, energy, and noise issues by airports. Respon- dents from both U.S. and non-U.S. airports said that regu-

42 Survey the 12 stakeholders/user groups on their per-• ceptions of sustainability at airports and compare with the airports’ perceptions. Explore opportunities for airlines and airports to form • joint interactions that promote sustainability. Provide incentives for tenants and customers for sus-• tainability practices at airports. Determine how airports are implementing life-cycle • costing for sustainability practices; identify savings/ avoided costs and cost-effectiveness (or individual sus- tainability practices). Define the business case for sustainability practices.• Link planning and capital budgeting—determine • why funding was identified as the key barrier to implementation. Research sustainability training in airports—internal • versus external training and opportunities for external training for employees. Research incentives for sustainability and the success • of certain practices, including analysis of incentive types and delivery methods.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 10: Airport Sustainability Practices explores airport sustainability practices across environmental, economic, and social issues.

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