Airport Carbon Accreditation

Examination according to Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA)

The Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) is a worldwide test procedure developed by the Association of European Airports "ACI EUROPE" to assist airports in determining, reducing and ultimately neutralising their specific CO2 footprint.

The aim of the ACA is to improve aviation in terms of environmental efficiency and CO2 reduction through globally uniform rules. In Europe, all major airports are ACA certified.

How does ACA work?

CO2 emissions can be reduced in a variety of ways, such as better insulation and energy efficiency, switching to green energy sources, investing in hybrid, electric or gas-powered service vehicles, promoting the use of public transport by employees, passengers and visitors, working with airlines and air traffic management to reduce runway taxiing times or introducing environmentally friendly landing procedures.

To become climate-neutral, an airport must pass through four consecutive certification stages.

  1. Mapping:
    • Determination of emission sources within the operating limits of the airport company
    • Calculation of annual CO2 emissions
    • Preparation of a report on the CO2 footprint
  2. Reduction:
    • Evidence of effective CO2 management and achievement of reduction targets (similar to Scope 1&2)
  3. Optimisation:
    • Expansion of the CO2 balance to include third party emissions at and around the airport (similar to Scope 3)
  4. Neutrality:
    • Compensation of the remaining emissions in order to achieve climate-neutral operation of all areas controlled by the airport

In order to apply for certification at any of the four stages of the programme, airports must have their CO2 balance audited in accordance with the ACA standard based on ISO 14064 (Greenhouse Gas Protocol) and prove this to the administrator of the Airport Carbon Accreditation through independent verification. Even if no further stage is envisaged, the airport's CO2 management plan and stakeholder plans must be verified every two years by an auditor and communicated to the ACA.

The definition of the ACA Footprint follows the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.