National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Sustainability Practices (2008)

Chapter: Summary

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Suggested Citation:"Summary." 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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Suggested Citation:"Summary." 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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sUMMarY airporT sUsTainaBiLiTY pracTices This project was undertaken on behalf of TRB. The report documents a range of airport sustainability practices gathered from a literature review and web-based survey. It specifi- cally targets airport operators and provides a snapshot of airport sustainability practices across the triple bottom line of environmental, economic, and social issues. A literature review was undertaken to inform the development of a survey for airport operators to identify current sustainability practices. After the survey, another literature review was undertaken to supplement the survey findings. The web-based survey included questions related to the management of environmental, economic, and social practices at airports; current and future drivers and priorities; and barriers to implementing sustain- ability. The survey was issued to 52 persons at U.S. and non-U.S. airports. Twenty-five survey responses were received from a range of large, medium, small, and non-hub U.S. airports, and from airports in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, and Canada. The survey asked respondents to assess their airport in relation to environmental, eco- nomic, and social sustainability performance using an ordinal management performance scale. Respondents were encouraged to identify practices that were planned or in place at their airport. On overall sustainability performance, respondents from non-U.S. airports and large U.S. airports rated their airports’ performance higher than those from small and medium U.S. airports. Respondents identified regulation and airport policy as key drivers for the implementa- tion of sustainability practices. For the future, they cited stakeholder concerns and global concerns such as climate change. For the next five years, large U.S. and non-U.S. airports consistently identified environmental sustainability practices as a priority. Smaller U.S. airports were more focused on economic prosperity. Corporate social responsibility and strategic environmental management at the governance level were key future priorities for some non-U.S. airports. For all the airport respondents, funding was the predominant barrier to implementation of sustainability practices. Responsibility for these practices at airports was not restricted to an environmental manager but varied across a range of disciplines and management levels. Respondents from both U.S. and non-U.S. airports said that environmental training is offered at their airport; economic and social sustainability training were not mentioned as often. Environmental reporting, whether as part of an annual report or separately, was common among the survey respondents. However, of the 25 respondents, only 4 non-U.S. respon- dents said that their airport uses the Global Reporting Initiative sustainability reporting guidelines for environmental, economic, and sustainability performance.

2 Environmental practices commonly in place at airports include measuring and moni- toring water conservation, water quality, climate change, air quality, land use, biodiver- sity, environmentally sustainable materials, waste, noise and aesthetics, energy, and green buildings. Economic sustainability practices commonly in place at airports include local hiring and purchasing, contributing to the community, quantifying the value of sustainability practices, contributing to research and development, and incentivizing sustainable behavior. Social concerns at airports include public awareness and education, stakeholder rela- tionships, employee practices and procedures, sustainable transportation, alleviating road congestion, accessibility, local culture and heritage, indoor environmental quality, employee well-being, and passenger well-being.

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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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