Sydney Airport is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030, with airport CEO Geoff Culbert stating, “The aviation industry has a critical role to play in combatting climate change, and we are making this commitment with a clear line of sight to the outcome and definite actions to get there.”
Culbert continued, “Sydney Airport is proud of the leadership position we’ve taken on sustainability. We’ve put our money where our mouth is through initiatives like our sustainability-linked loan and bond, which ensure our sustainability commitments have genuine financial imperatives.
“We are always on the lookout for ways we can do more, and our commitment to achieve net zero by 2030 extends our leadership on sustainability.”
The airport claims it has a strong track record of incorporating sustainability into its operations. In recent years it has entered into a corporate power purchase agreement for renewable energy while also developing financial instruments like sustainability-linked bonds and loans.
The commitment to achieve net zero by 2030 includes all emissions under the airport’s operational control. This comprises Scope 1 emissions that are generated by its vehicle fleet and natural gas use, and Scope 2 emissions, representing the emissions created during the production of the airport’s electricity needs.
Scope 2 emissions, which represent 93% of emissions under the airport’s operational control, will be eliminated by reducing electricity use and switching to 100% renewable energy.
Scope 1 emissions account for 7% of the emissions under the airport’s operational control and will be reduced by moderating reliance on natural gas, transitioning vehicles to low- or no-emission technology and phasing out fuel-powered equipment like diesel generators.
If there is a small, residual proportion of Scope 1 emissions that cannot be eliminated by alternative technologies or management practices, these can be offset by the purchase of credits from carbon removal projects; for example, reforestation programs.
Furthermore, the airport will continue its program to target indirect Scope 3 emissions, which represent those that are outside its operational control but occur as a result of airport activities; for example, carbon emissions generated by ground transport and by aircraft taking off and landing.
Initiatives to reduce Scope 3 emissions will range from offering retail and commercial tenants renewable energy, to facilitating the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels. In October 2020 the airport acquired the on-site jet fuel infrastructure assets in an $85m transaction driven partly by an ambition to influence the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels in the future.