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42 This chapter synthesizes the information that emerged from the interviews, supplemented by information from the literature search. It highlights sustainability benefits, effective strat- egies and practices, stakeholder communication methods and messages, as well as research observations. In addition to the interview and literature search findings, the Research Team created an executive-level PowerPoint presentation, which conveys why sustainability attri- butes should be included in airport capacity-enhancing projects. This presentation is con- tained in Appendix E, which can be found on the TRB website (www.trb.org) by searching for âACRP Synthesis 93.â Sustainability Benefits The case examples presented in this report shed light on the benefits that can be realized by adopting a sustainability approach to capacity-enhancing projects. Sustainability benefits include the following: â¢ Cost savings: Airports can achieve cost savings from a range of areas, such as reduced operat- ing cost, employee retention and productivity, reduced operations and maintenance, reuse or conservation of resources, and avoided mitigation costs. â¢ Risk mitigation: By using a long-term perspective and evaluating systematic impacts of deci- sions using economic, environmental, social, and operational criteria, risks can be anticipated and mitigated early. â¢ Enhanced reputation: An airport that conveys its role in the local economy, stewardship of natural resources, and commitment to social responsibility can develop a âgood neighborâ reputation within its community. â¢ Legitimacy: Being able to demonstrate leadership in sustainability, especially when it comes to a capacity-enhancing project that affects the local community, provides an airport with reputational capital to draw on next time it wants to propose a new initiative. â¢ Facilitating innovation: Using a sustainability framework can spark innovations in areas such as how to better streamline operations or how to encourage employee well-being. â¢ Differentiating factor: Determining unique and engaging ways to communicate sustainability innovations can serve as a differentiating factor for airports. â¢ Regulatory cooperation: Taking a proactive approach to environmental stewardship can make environmental regulatory processes less arduous and require less mitigation on the airportâs part. â¢ Community champions: Airports that effectively collaborate with community stakeholders may find champions within the community that are willing to amplify the airportâs efforts on sustainability. C H A P T E R 4 Findings
Findings 43 â¢ Accountability: Having an established sustainability plan, with subsequent updates or annual reports keeps an airport accountable to its goals and commitments. â¢ Lower emissions: Through efforts such as decreasing energy consumption, streamlining operations, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, airports can lower their greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. â¢ Waste reduction: Establishing or enhancing waste management programs can reduce the quantity of waste sent to landfills, incinerators, or waste water facilities. Consolidating redun- dant systems or digitizing processes that were historically reliant on hard-copy materials can reduce the quantity of waste generated in the first place. â¢ Increased revenue flows: Airports can increase their revenue flows through initiatives such as generating renewable energy on unused land or available roof space. â¢ Increased operational efficiency: Incorporating sustainability concepts within a capacity- enhancing project can generate innovative ideas for increasing efficiency, which can ripple across other aspects of airport operations. â¢ Enhanced connectivity between stakeholders: Frequently engaging with stakeholders can facilitate enhanced connectivity and cooperation among them, providing airport staff with opportunities to collaborate with multiple stakeholders at once and focus on issues that are deemed high-priority across stakeholder groups. Effective Strategies and Practices The strategies and practices described are synthesized from the interviews and further under- score the âwhyâ of sustainability. These items can be used to mitigate business risk and reduce costs, to assuage the concerns of community groups, and ultimately to demonstrate success emanating from sustainability to help encourage its further use. â¢ Framing sustainability as a mechanism to make smarter business decisions and to mitigate business risk can help garner the attention of airport executives and decision-makers. â¢ Using a framework of sustainability to identify and evaluate social, fiscal, and environmental impacts can help ensure smooth implementation of a decision or plan. With these impacts identified, direct, pre-emptive outreach can assuage the concerns of stakeholders who might otherwise push back against airport enhancement or development efforts. â¢ Utilizing tools such as checklists or matrices facilitates consistent application of sustain- ability practices, and ensures that the benefits of a sustainability approach can be realized in a projectâs implementation. â¢ Incorporating sustainability language into legal documents (i.e., RFPs and tenant leases) can help institutionalize sustainability by integrating triple bottom line considerations into the airportâs supply chain for procuring goods and services. â¢ Establishing systems so that compliance of sustainability language in legal documents can be tracked and enforced further institutionalizes sustainability. â¢ Involving representation from a broad range of airport departments in project planning can mitigate future delays with project development and implementation. Inclusion of operations and maintenance staff is especially important to ensure the necessary operations and mainte- nance activities are considered in project planning and design, and that operational execution matches the intended practice. â¢ Embracing sustainable initiatives and communicating these undertakings early in the project planning process can save time and money compared with needing to assuage the concerns of stakeholders later in the project planning process. Consistent application of this can also help the airport staff develop a more effective rapport with key stakeholders (environmental groups, neighboring communities, etc.).
44 Sustainabilityâs Role in Enhancing Airport Capacity Stakeholder Communication Methods and Messaging Stakeholder engagement and communication are important to the successful implementation of the effective strategies and practices. With advances in technology and the emergence of new media platforms, facilitating participatory communication with stakeholders is an area that con- tinues to evolve. The following list contains effective methods that emerged from this research, and additional resources related to communications are provided in Appendix B: â¢ Conducting tours of the airport, highlighting sustainable operations and facilities. â¢ Placing plaques and informational placards that highlight sustainable efforts in areas where passengers will see themâsuch as at seats by the gates, on windows looking out to the air- field, and in restrooms. â¢ Conducting direct outreach to key stakeholdersâsuch as elected officials or local businessesâthrough meetings or events before, during, and after the project. â¢ Hosting, participating in, or sponsoring community events. â¢ Hosting open houses, community meetings, or workshops on specific airport initiatives. â¢ Having airport representatives attend community meetings to answer questions and gain insights on community perspective. â¢ Engaging tenants through regular meetings and more active tactics such as providing GHG or sustainability benchmarking services. â¢ Including a wide variety of airport staff in developing sustainability goals, targets, and initiatives. â¢ Developing and circulating internal and external newsletters. â¢ Creating a sustainability report, dedicated microsite, and supporting outreach materials such as factsheets, videos, and social media posts. â¢ Including airport sustainability staff members on internal airport committees and in other departmental meetings. â¢ Providing an introductory-level âSustainability 101â presentation to internal airport staff members in different departments. The following list contains effective messaging approaches that emerged from this research: â¢ Focusing on job creation and economic benefits of both capacity enhancements and sustain- ability efforts. â¢ Highlighting disadvantaged business enterprise and minority inclusion in the project or effort. â¢ Showcasing quantified benefits from the sustainability efforts. â¢ Connecting sustainability to the roles and impacts of specific employees or department. â¢ Tying sustainability to corporate organizational mission and ethos. Research Observations The following list contains the main takeaways from the Research Teamâs interviews relating to experiences with sustainabilityâs role in capacity enhancement: â¢ As the number of air travelers continues to grow, airports are faced with capacity constraints that impede their ability to provide efficient and convenient travel experiences. When pas- senger growth outpaces capacity, airport staff can be faced with dissatisfied customers due to issues such as flight delays, congestion around the airport, and inadequate infrastructure. â¢ Strong executive direction and a culture of sustainability can lead to successful integration of sustainability within capacity-enhancing projects, as can meaningful sustainability policies. When all three exist togetherâcomplementing and reinforcing each otherâsustainability is most effectively incorporated into an airportâs way of doing business. â¢ Integrating sustainability measures within airport operations is an iterative process wherein lessons learned are drawn from initial efforts to inform and enhance future efforts, thus resulting in a progressive learning process for airport staff.
Findings 45 â¢ Community-based governance supports sustainability by incorporating multiple perspectives and establishing the communityâs stake in the airportâs development. â¢ A culture of sustainability is best developed, ingrained, and solidified with drive and support from top-level decision-makers, in conjunction with efforts to ensure employee ownership and involvement in the direction of sustainability. â¢ While sometimes accompanied with a higher upfront cost, projects or approaches incorpo- rating sustainability initiatives in the early planning stages can save the airport money from a life-cycle cost perspective, sometimes with a very short payback. â¢ Benchmarking sustainability performance is vital, allowing the airport to quantify its perfor- mance and track (and communicate to its community and stakeholders) improvements in the future. Using a third party to establish a benchmark is best, because the airport can compare its performance with its peers and other industries. â¢ Sustainability encourages innovation, and can be used to improve airport operations and passenger experience by applying a cohesive lens through which to frame and solve complex problems. â¢ Early sustainability efforts often focus on environmental stewardship, but through an under- standing of the value streams that can be unlocked through EONS, airports broaden their initiatives to capture additional benefits. Observations from the literature search, highlighted in the following list, complement and reinforce the interview takeaways: â¢ Airport development to accommodate forecasted growth gives rise to new challenges such as environmental impacts or lack of community support. In the worst-case scenarios, airport projects have been met with environmental protests, land occupation, legal confrontation, and costly public inquiry (Upham et al. 2003). However, enhancing capacity can provide positive contributions such as job opportunities, efficient and secure transportation, higher incomes, and increased tourism (Koc and Durmaz 2015). â¢ Local community opposition can be managed by adopting a âgood neighborâ strategy that addresses the major issues of concern, while still meeting commercial or economic objec- tives. It is important to provide information to local residents about the actions being taken to resolve the perceived problems, to establish a system of public consultation, to set targets publicly for improvement, and then to implement transparent monitoring systems to show that progress is being made. In addition to minimizing the adverse effects of airport growth, it is also important that airports develop strategies that maximize the social and economic benefits of continuing growth, and target these strategies areas of greatest need or areas most affected by their operation (Upham et al. 2003). â¢ Establishing community liaisons, drawn from each airport department and appointed by their peers to coordinate and facilitate community involvement, can serve as a strategy to anticipate and manage potential stakeholder conflicts (Amaeshi and Crane 2006). â¢ Another way to foster community dialog is to establish a consultative committee of commu- nity representatives to serve as the formal interface between the airport and its neighboring communities. This committee would meet regularly and with press in attendance to request progress updates or suggest new reports from the airport on issues of concern to the com- munity (Amaeshi and Crane 2006). â¢ Although the benefits that result from the growth and development of an airport tend to be spread over a large geographical area, the environmental costs are typically borne by the resi- dents of its neighboring communities (Upham et al. 2003). â¢ There are several viable approaches, but ultimately no all-encompassing model or tool kit for effective stakeholder participation. Effective stakeholder participation depends on a variety of place-specific social, economic, and environmental criteria (Thomas and Lever 2003).