Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA)

Climate management for airports

With the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA), the Association of European Airports "ACI EUROPE" has created a global test procedure so that airports can determine, reduce and ultimately neutralise their specific greenhouse gas footprint (GHG footprint).

The aim of the ACA is to improve the operation of airports in terms of environmental efficiency and GHG reduction through globally standardised rules. In Europe, all major airports are ACA-certified.

How does Airport Carbon Accreditation work?

GHG emissions can be reduced in many different ways, for example through better insulation and energy efficiency, switching to green energy sources or investing in hybrid, electric or gas-powered service vehicles.

To become ACA-compliant, an airport can go through five successive certification stages:

1. Mapping

  • Determining the emission sources within the airport company's operating limits
  • Calculate annual GHG emissions
  • Creating a report of the GHG footprint

2. Reduction

  • Proof of effective GHG management and achievement of reduction targets (similar to Scope 1&2)

3. Optimisation

  • Expansion of the GHG balance to include emissions from third parties at and around the airport (similar to Scope 3)

4. Neutrality

  • Offsetting the remaining emissions in order to achieve climate-neutral operation of all areas controlled by the airport

5. Net Zero

  • Target achievement of 90 % reduction in Scope 1 and 2 and neutrality for 2050 in Scope 3 compared to base year

How does certification via the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme work?

In order to apply for certification at one of the five levels of the programme, airports must have their GHG balance and reduction strategy reviewed in accordance with the ACA standard based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and prove this to the Airport Carbon Accreditation administrator through independent verification.

Even if no further level is sought, the airport's GHG management plan and stakeholder plans must be verified by an auditor every two years (annually in level 5) and reported to the ACI.

The definition of the footprint according to ACA follows the requirements of the "Greenhouse Gas Protocol".