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32 chapter four CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURThER RESEARCh SUCCESSFUL AIRPORT SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES As the universe of airport sustainability practices continues to expand, so have the ways of evaluating their success. Although sustainability professionals may constantly be faced with the need to justify the business case for pursuing sustainability initiatives in terms of payback, return on investment, and revenue enhancement, airports and their business partners are increasingly aware that their ability to operate and grow is directly connected to their success in fostering a positive sustainability reputation and goodwill. Thus, there appears to be an increased appetite for community stewardship and social responsibility initiatives whose financial return is less clear than that of more traditional sustainability efforts such as energy efficiency projects. This is evidenced by a number of the practices and case examples captured through this synthesis. In addition, airport sustainability practitioners are increasingly focused on engaging airport stake- holders and business partners, and many programs are undertaken by airlines, concessionaires, and other airport tenants either on their own or in partnership with airport operators. Sustainability practitioners can learn as much from these entities as from the more traditional network of peers. The sustainability practices and case examples collected through this research indicate their con- tinued innovation. Despite an already large inventory of practices captured in the Sustainable Avia- tion Guidance Alliance (SAGA) website, new approaches to managing an array of environmental, economic, and social considerations continue to emerge. These case examples describe sustainability practices useful to practitioners interested in promot- ing economic vitality, operational efficiency, natural resource protection, and/or social responsibility at airports. The case examples can be found online in the SAGA database. Number Practice Case Example Primary SAGA Practice Category 1 Develop an Asset or Infrastructure Management Plan Dallas FortâWorth International Airport Economic Performance 2 Develop and implement an Environmental Management System to track progress in improving environmental performance Reno Tahoe International Airport Economic Performance 3 Integrate climate resilience considerations in airport development projects Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Economic Performance 4 Tie sustainability goals and objectives into the operations and maintenance and capital improvement program budget process San Diego International Airport Energy & Climate 5 Donate surplus equipment and other goods to charity American Airlines Engagement & Leadership 6 Donate surplus food to charity HMS Host Engagement & Leadership 7 Develop an onsite materials recovery facility CharlotteâDouglas International Airport Water & Waste
33 SUCCESSFUL REPORTING OF SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES ThROUGh ThE SAGA WEBSITE SAGA continues to evolve as a tool for sharing of data and most effective practices. Its catalogue of sustainability practices is extensive and continually expanding. Although most airport staff are faced with full schedules and may not believe they have time to contribute to the website, this syn- thesis concluded that a reasonably informative SAGA entry typically required less than one hour to construct, and much less than that if the practice data are readily available. However, if it is desired that SAGA entries are more detailed than those collected in this synthesis, the workday demands of airport staff may limit the expansion of SAGA content. It should be noted that the practice data contributed to SAGA by case example participants was provided from the perspective of individual airport users, and provided using pre-populated responses displayed in drop-down menus. These responses are subject to interpretation, and may not accurately represent the potential outcomes of sustainability practices at other airports. This synthesis also concluded that SAGA users would benefit from a bit of guidance on the practice data that is sought on the website in order to generate more consistent responses. This consistency would be particularly useful in improving the search feature and resulting âprioritization scoreâ that is generated by means of the data inputs for each sustainability practice. LESSONS LEARNED AND EVOLVING ISSUES: EXPANDING ThE SAGA AUDIENCE The synthesis panel emphasized the importance of generating participation by new users in this project, rather than focusing on airports and individuals that are known leaders in airport sustain- ability. Although this project was successful at generating such participation, it is unclear whether this will result in long-term engagement in SAGA. The airport sustainability community is some- what of a âniche,â and just as sustainability practitioners are constantly searching for ways to break down silos and integrate sustainability across their organizations, those individuals who do not perceive themselves as directly responsible for sustainability may not take ownership of initiatives such as SAGA. In particular, it was observed that some of the airport operations staff whose roles were not overtly environmental in nature did not appear likely to re-engage in SAGA (for instance, by declining to set up a username and password) because it may be construed as an academic exercise. This mirrors a common challenge faced by airport sustainability practitioners in engaging stakeholders across the airport ecosystem. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURThER RESEARCh While SAGA was initially developed primarily as a tool for airport operators, the applicability of airport sustainability has expanded to a broader audience that includes airport business partners, tenants, and other stakeholders. This synthesis provided a glimpse into the sustainability practices undertaken by airlines and concessionaires. The airport sustainability community may benefit from a more comprehensive review of what airport stakeholders are doing to advance sustainability in the 8 Use recovered glycol as a âfeedstockâ for reformulated aircraft de-icing fluid, vehicle anti-freeze, aircraft lavatory fluid, coolants, coatings, and paints Wayne County Airport Authority or Denver International Airport Water & Waste 9 Establish an Airport Composting Program Vancouver International Airport Water & Waste 10 Upcycle materials from indoor advertising United Airlines Water & Waste Number Practice Case Example Primary SAGA Practice Category
34 aviation sector. This research might also be complemented by an effort to enhance the orientation of SAGA as a resource for aviation more broadly. Given the continuing evolution of airport sustainability practices, a second phase of this work could allow for the entry of additional practices into SAGA. Further research into specific practice types, such as integration of sustainability in winter operations, may also be warranted. In particular, additional research into social sustainability initiatives could be useful in addressing some of the constraints faced by airports in implementing such efforts, such as prohibitions on donation of public goods. Finally, the SAGA website could benefit from additional resources to provide expanded learning opportunities on topics of special and emerging interest, such as climate resilience.