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Christchurch Airport gains world first recognition

Christchurch Airport has become the first in the world to be recognized for demonstrating best practice in carbon reduction.

Airports Council International (ACI) oversees the Airports Carbon Accreditation (ACA) global standard for airports' measurement and reduction of emissions.

Newly launched ACA Level4/4+ is the highest carbon certification an airport can achieve - and Christchurch Airport is the first to do so.

Christchurch Airport is the first to receive the highest carbon certification an airport can achieve - the newly launched ACA Level4.

General Manager Planning & Sustainability, Rhys Boswell, says the airport environmental team is proud to have achieved this world first.

He says the submission took three months to complete.

"We were required to present a verified Carbon Footprint, a Carbon Management Plan in line with the UN Paris Agreement, and a Stakeholder Partnership Plan to influence Scope 3 emissions. All this went to an independently verified accreditor who scrutinises carbon accounting and airports.

"We provided independently verified proof of all our carbon reduction achievements.

Over the past year, we reduced our Scope 1 emissions by 83%, from 1186 tCO2e to 204 tCO2e, through installing ground source heating and cooling in our terminal building.

Rhys Boswell - General Manager Planning & Sustainability, Christchurch Airport

"Our Scope 2 emissions have reduced by 27%, against baseline year 2015, through LED replacements and improved energy efficiencies.

"Plus, as part of our commitment to support aviation industry transition to a low carbon future, we have installed aircraft ground power. When an aircraft is on the ground, it can use electricity rather than jet fuel, and so saves approximately 730 tCO2e per plane per year."

Air New Zealand's Head of Sustainability Lisa Daniell says the accreditation is recognition of Christchurch Airport's sustainability efforts.

"It's great to see this kind of industry-wide commitment and collaboration happening to reduce carbon emissions. For Air New Zealand, having the infrastructure at Christchurch Airport to plug aircraft into ground power on the tarmac, instead of running systems like air conditioning and cabin lights from the APU unit which burns fuel, has helped us to reduce our own emissions."

Rhys Boswell says the new certification is important to the airport staff.

"Our stated intentions are to be great kaitiaki (guardians of our environment), and our Carbon Policy goals are to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, and absolute zero emissions by 2050. We have worked hard to demonstrate how emission reductions factor into our airport planning and decision making, now and into a low carbon future. Being recognized as the world's first airport to demonstrate best practice in this area is a good feeling."