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5 BACKGROUND According to the EPA, Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment (âWhat Is Sustainabilityâ n.d.). The EPA definition contains the âtriple bottom lineâ addressing economic responsibility, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility (Thomson and Delaney 2014) (Figure 1). As shown in Figure 1, the three areas of the triple bottom line overlap. Rather than being considered in isolation, these three areas can be considered as a whole. In this way, the concept of sustainability becomes part of the organizationâs decision-making process. It can be noted that ACI-NA has purposefully redefined the triple bottom line. According to this group, âAirport sustainability, in effect is a holistic approach to managing an airport so as to ensure the integrity of the Economic viability, Operational efficiency, Natural Resource Conservation and Social responsibility (EONS) of the airportâ (ACI-NA n.d., para. 10). This definition is similar to the triple bottom line, with the addition of âoperational efficiency.â As ACI-NA (n.d.) explains: Broadening this definition for the business of managing an airport is particularly important because while not all airports can or need to build new facilities, all have opportunities within the construct of their business model to leverage their O&M [operations and maintenance] dollars in ways that promote sustainability. The EONS model defines âpay-backâ through proven business practices that pay benefits to our customers, our employees, our neighborhood, our bottom line and our industry (para. 6). Using the ACI-NAâs broadened definition of sustainability (EONS), sustainability also should address operational efficiency to include â¢ operating costs (e.g., airport infrastructure, information technology, fleet management), â¢ maintenance costs, â¢ component renewal costs, â¢ life-cycle costs (e.g., debt service, component renewal, and O&M), and â¢ ability to holistically trade off priorities in the life cycle (ACI-NA n.d., para. 5). The inclusion of operational efficiency in the definition of sustainability is important. As the Sustainable Aviation Guidance Alliance (SAGA n.d.) explains, For some airports, broadening the definition to include the business of managing an airport may be particularly important because while not all airport operators can or need to build new facilities, all have opportunities within their business models to leverage their operations and maintenance (O&M) dollars in ways that can promote sustainability (pp. 8â9). Thus, it is clear that according to the triple bottom line, principle, airports need to consider each of these areas when evaluating potential projects and sustainable initiatives. Specifically, potential initiatives would be evaluated on the degree to which they (1) reduce environmental impacts, (2) realize economic chapter one INTRODUCTION
6 benefits, and (3) improve community relations. If an initiative addresses only one or two of these areas, additional evaluation would take place before adoption. According to Thomson and Delaney (2014), âan organization, instead of focusing solely on its finances [or environmental benefits], should improve upon its social, economic, and environmental impact for the long-term survival of itself and societyâ (p. 7). As FAA (2012) explains, âTo encour- age sustainable solutions, a business case needs to be made that a return on investment exists for sustainable design and constructionâ (p. 4). This is especially true for small airports. According to FAA (2012), âSmall airports should prioritize the economic pillar of sustainability more than larger airports that have more resources to pursue sustainability initiativesâ (p. 5). This need to balance these objectives could be of comfort to staff of small airports that may have felt pressure to pursue sustainable projects without regard to cost or social benefits. However, as staff manage their airports, letâs not forget that these airports must be well-managed, which requires a focus on economic responsibility, social responsibility, and environmental responsibilityâamong other areas. Indeed, FAA grant assurance 24 requires airports to âmaintain a fee and rental structure for the facilities and services at the airport which will make the airport as self-sustaining as possible under the circumstances existing at the particular airportâ (FAA 2014a, p. 12). This is an important point because many small airports point to costs as the main deterrent to pursuing sustainability initiatives. Airports are encouraged to either use an existing definition of sustainability or create their own definition. There are many different ways to define sustainability. As explained by SAGA (n.d.), âAn airport operatorâs definition of sustainability should relate to its unique circumstances and role within its community and environmentâ (p. 7). SAGA encourages airports to [D]etermine what sustainability means to that specific organization or the individual facility, taking into account the unique nature of the airport and its community. Depending on your organization, sustainability to some small airports may mean just âkeeping the doors open.â That said, it is generally accepted that sustainability includes essential elements under the âTriple Bottom Lineâ (SAGA n.d., p. 8). FIGURE 1 Triple bottom line (Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Triple_Bottom_Line_ graphic.jpg).
7 SYNTHESIS CONTENT The report is organized into the following chapters: â¢ Chapter two: Study Methodology â¢ Chapter three: Literature Review â¢ Chapter four: Case Examples â¢ Chapter five: Survey Results â¢ Chapter six: Conclusions and Future Research.