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Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA)

Airport Carbon Accreditation is a carbon management certification standard for airports developed by ACI Europe. The programme independently assesses and recognises the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions with four levels of award.

The programme is institutionally endorsed by ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference) and EUROCONTROL and is overseen by an independent Advisory Board including representatives of the European Commission, ECAC, EUROCONTROL, ICAO, UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) and Manchester Metropolitan University.

> See the list of accredited airports worldwide and their level of accreditation

What is Airport Carbon Accreditation?


Airport Carbon Accreditation was in the top three low-carbon European projects in the 'World You Like Challenge' competition organized by the European Commission in 2013.

What are the benefits of an airport being accredited?

  • To recognise your efforts to manage and reduce carbon emissions
  • To reduce costs through effective carbon emissions management
  • To communicate your green credentials to external stakeholders

Level 1: MAPPING - Footprint measurement

  • Determine its ‘operational boundary’ and the emissions sources within that boundary which are Scope 1 and Scope 2 sources, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol
  • Collect data and calculate the annual carbon emissions for the previous year for those sources
  • Compile a carbon footprint report
  • Engage an independent third party to verify the report before submission, to ensure that the carbon footprint calculation is in accordance with ISO14064 and accreditation requirements.

Level 2: REDUCTION - Carbon management towards a reduced carbon footprint

All of the above plus: 
  • Provide evidence of effective carbon management procedures including target setting
  • Show that a reduction in the carbon footprint has occurred by analysing the carbon emissions data of consecutive years

Level 3: OPTIMISATION - Third-party engagement in carbon footprint reduction

All of the above plus:
  • Widen the scope of its carbon footprint to include a range of Scope 3 emissions. (GHG Protocol)
  • Scope 3 emissions to be measured include:
    - landing and take-off cycle emissions
    - surface access to the airport for passengers and staff
    - staff business travel emissions
    - any other Scope 3 emissions which the airport chooses to include.
  • Presentation of evidence of engagement with third-party operators to reduce wider airport-based carbon emissions.

Level 3+: NEUTRALITY - Carbon neutrality for direct emissions by offsetting

All of the above plus:
  • Offset its remaining Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (GHG Protocol) to show its commitment to achieving carbon neutral operations for all direct emissions and indirect emissions over which the airport has control, using internationally recognised offsets

> For more information, read our F.A.Q.

Source: Airport Carbon Accreditation