Aalborg Airport - a Journey for Sustainability
At Aalborg Airport, the journey towards a sustainable transition is initiated, through the international carbon management program Airport Carbon Accrediation, where a climate-friendly focus is set on the entire journey – from the parking lot to the boarding stairs.
Every day, Aalborg Airport is the starting point for many passengers' journeys. They put their start of the journey in our hands and they expect a great travel experience. It commits and requires that we provide the best possible service every single day. An important part of that service is to be a responsible airport.
Whether a passenger takes the car or train to the airport, goes to a business meeting in Copenhagen or spends a week in the sun on Mallorca, the goal is to become a fully CO2-neutral airport – based on the UN's 17 global goals for sustainable development and accrediation through Airport Council International Europe's Airport Carbon Accrediation program
Our goals in the sustainable transition:
- By the end of 2021, Aalborg Airport must be a CO2-reducing airport.
- By the end of 2025, Aalborg Airport must be a CO2-neutral airport.
- By 2050, Aalborg Airport, including air traffic to and from the airport, must be CO2-neutral.
Certificate of Accreditation
On November 10, 2021, Aalborg Airport achieved level-2 certification and thus met the partial goal of being a CO2-reducing airport during 2021.
In January 2024, Aalborg Airport achieved a level-3 certification, which deals with 'Optimization' in relation to the airport's systematic reduction of CO2 emissions. It is an important step in relation to obtaining a 3+ certification, which makes Aalborg Airport a CO2-neutral airport.
The certification must be renewed annually based on current CO2-reducing standards.
Airport Carbon Accreditation
- A systematic work with CO2 reduction
In the efforts to contribute to the green transition and become a more climate-friendly company, Aalborg Airport has decided to structure the work with CO2 reduction based on the internationally recognized carbon management program for airports, Airport Carbon Accreditation. This program is specifically aimed at airports that want to reduce their CO2 emissions and thus make a difference to the climate.
Airport Carbon Accreditation is used by a large number of airports worldwide, and offers the airports a structured framework for how to work with CO2 reduction. Among other things, the program allows the airports to identify the following:
- The airport's emission sources
- Mapping of the airport's CO2 emissions
- Processes for managing and neutralizing CO2 emissions
- Processes for increasing efficiency through the neutralization of CO2 emissions.
- Treats to positively impact the entire aviation industry
Airport Carbon Accreditation offers airports an official certification from levels 1 to 6.
- To achieve level-1 certification, one must identify one's emission sources and register one's CO2 emissions.
- In order to obtain level-2 certification, you must also be able to demonstrate a decrease in CO2 emissions over a 3-year period, as well as show that you have a CO2 policy and that you are actively working with CO2 reduction.
- In order to achieve level-3 certification, one must also include all CO2 emissions from third parties (airlines, passengers, etc.) and engage the third parties in actively reducing the CO2 emissions associated with the airport.
- In order to achieve level-3+ certification, one must also compensate for the airport's remaining CO2 emissions, using credible and approved climate credits.
- In order to achieve level-4 certification, you must also define a long-term climate plan for absolute CO2 neutrality, which must correspond to the requirements of the Paris Agreement. You must also be able to prove that the airport actively drives third parties to reduce their CO2 emissions.
- In order to achieve level-4+ certification, one must also compensate for the airport's remaining CO2 emissions, using credible and approved climate credits.
Aalborg Airport has worked intensively to identify its emission sources, calculate the actual CO2 emissions, and been able to demonstrate a decrease in CO2 emissions for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
In addition, Aalborg Airport has laid out an ambitious climate strategy, which should eventually result in us becoming a CO2-neutral airport.
Aalborg Airport's emissions data and climate strategy were externally audited in the summer of 2021 by a consultant from Price Waterhouse Cooper in Copenhagen. He has signed a declaration that our emission data is correct, he has approved our climate strategy, and then recommended us for certification with ACA.
The following illustrates the 6 levels within Airport Carbon Accreditation, and which levels Aalborg Airport currently focuses on.
Aalborg Airport's Environmental Policy
Aalborg Airport is committed to protecting and improving the environment, because a sustainable and responsible approach to the environment that surrounds us is a value that is supported by all employees and stakeholders. Every day, AAL strives to ensure that our environmental performance is effective and that AAL reduces the environmental impact of our activities in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
Sustainable Initiatives at Aalborg Airport
Presently and in the past years, Aalborg Airport has continuously implemented projects and measures, all of which have been aimed at reducing the airport's CO2 emissions.
- Aalborg Airport has actively been replacing all our lighting with LED technology since 2021. By 2023, 99% of the light sources have been switched to LED. This applies to the terminal, parking areas, runway, and the apron. Between 2018 and 2021, AAL achieved a 12% reduction in electricity consumption. The full impact of this will only be fully visible in 2023.
- In 2022 Aalborg Airport has 34 electrical power stands able at the parking spaces in the passenger parking lot.
In 2021 Aalborg Airport had 22 electrical power stands, so the change to 34 stands is an increase of 55% in one year.
- Aalborg Airport have implemented parking spaces with the possibility to charge E-powered vehicle for the car rental companies. This is to meet the car rental companies' desire to rent out more electric cars. These stands are implanted in July 2023.
- Ongoing replacement of operational equipment with electric alternatives (currently, 50% of operational equipment is powered by electricity).
- in 2020/2021 AAL had an energy screening of the entire airport, which enable us to determine where our scope 1 and 2 emissions can be optimized and made more efficient. This report has given an insight into which improvements and investments we could make to reduce our CO2 emissions. Based on this report, we have purchased an electric flight staircase in 2021. Other investments are underway.
- Focus on material reuse to promote the circular economy.
- Aalborg Airport's scope 2 emission sources have been identified as electricity and district heating, and the expenditure data is recorded in the cloud solution EnergyKey. Aalborg Airport has integrated all of its electricity and district heating meters into the program. This cloud solution allows us to monitor our consumption on an hourly basis. It also allows us to set alarms if our consumption changes significantly.
- IT equipment that needs to be replaced, is defective, or no longer serves any value to the airports is sent to PingIT A/S, which recycles as much as possible.
- In the Penny Lane Bakery Outlet, "Too Good to Go" is used, which helps reduce food waste.
- AAL has an email address to which employees can submit sustainable proposals. Incoming suggestions are discussed on an ongoing basis.
- Aalborg Airport is in collaboration with Port of Aalborg, Aalborg University and Shell (amongst others) in a low carbon fuels projects, which will enable Aalborg Airport to supply their operating aircrafts with green fuel.
- Aalborg Airport is represented in various partnerships, where we work together with different industries towards a more sustainable business development.
- Aalborg Airport continuously assesses whether there is a need to increase the capacity of parking spaces with charging stations for electric vehicles to meet passenger needs and promote the green transition.
- Have only electricity powered Ground Service Equipment (50% is electricity powered today). Changing from a fuel-powered to an electric-powered engine does not happen at any price. It must be done with care. We do not throw away anything that still works or can be reused in another context. If it cannot be repaired or recycled, it will be replaced with an electric powered motor.
- Aalborg Airport must regularly report our climate accounts to both our bank and the Board of Directors.
- Aalborg Airport continuously work to reduce our emissions as much as possible. What we cannot reduce from, we plan to compensate with an offset project. We want the offset project to be in the local area, to improve diversity in our own area.
The Aviation Climate Partnership
A comprehensive plan for the sustainable transformation of aviation.
Aalborg Airport is part of the Aviation Climate Partnership, where the desire is to contribute positively to transforming aviation into a fully sustainable form of transport.
The plan, consisting of 33 concrete initiatives, aims to meet Denmark's goal of a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions from domestic aviation. But the partnership strives even further and aims to make 30% of the jet fuel used by planes departing from Danish airports in 2030 free of climate-damaging emissions using biogas, wind turbine power and CO2 capture. This will make Denmark a pioneer in aviation restructuring. The goal is to create a competitive Danish aviation sector with lower CO2 emissions that can compete on an equal footing with aviation in Asia, the USA and the EU. The idea is that sustainable aviation must be a decisive competitive parameter, and this is the core of the climate fund and the Aviation Climate Partnership.
The aviation sector in Denmark, in collaboration with experts and organisations, has drawn up an action plan that will promote the transformation of aviation. This also paves the way for the ambition that Aalborg Airport must achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2050.
With the Climate Partnership's recommendations, Denmark and Danish companies can become global role models for a real restructuring of aviation and other parts of the transport sector that cannot immediately be electrified. The partnership's action plan has the potential to create an export adventure that will strengthen Danish workplaces and cement Denmark's leading role in the development and export of climate solutions.
The action plan focuses on four main initiatives:
- Securing access to bio-based jet fuel: In order to promote supply and demand for climate-friendly fuels, investments must be made in the production of biofuel, possibly by introducing a national blending requirement. The goal is for 30% of the jet fuel refueled at Danish airports in 2030 to be bio-based.
- National action plans for the supply chain: In order to enable the production of low CO2 footprint fuels such as biogas, green electricity and CO2 capture, it is crucial to establish national action plans. These plans must ensure the supply of green electricity for hydrogen production and CO2 capture. A comprehensive strategy for conversion and development of Power-to-X is also necessary. It is important that both private and public actors cooperate in order to achieve the ambitious goals for transformation.
- The Aviation Climate Fund as a driving force for the demand for biofuel: The Aviation Climate Fund must support the market for biofuel by charging a climate tax of DKK 20-30 per passengers traveling from Danish airports. This tax must cover a large part of the price difference between fossil fuels and the less CO2-emitting alternatives. In doing so, the fund will contribute to creating demand for the more expensive biofuels in the aviation sector and promote increased production in the long term.
- International commitment: Although a global CO2 tax, with revenues supporting aviation development, would be the most effective solution, it is unfortunately not imminent. It is therefore necessary for Denmark to take measures now, while at the same time continuing to work on finding international and European solutions.
Aalborg Airport is working with the green transition and in the past several years, there has been performed targeted initiatives to reduce Aalborg Airport's CO2 footprint. AAL has come a long way with, among other things, switching to LED lighting and to electric vehicles, but in order to become CO2 neutral, CO2 compensation is a necessity. This has happened through the purchase of CO2 compensation right next to the airport – namely on the island of Egholm. Under the name Egholm Park, more than half of the fields have now been converted into sustainable natural areas, which will especially strengthen biodiversity and the nature experience on the island.
Egholm has optimal conditions. Based on hundreds of samples, the soil for Egholm Park has been analyzed to investigate the potential for carbon build-up and CO2 absorption. The expectation is for at least 27,000 tonnes of CO2 absorption over a 10-year period. At the same time, the airport ensures cooperation on an appropriate management of the area, where the airport's applicable obligations and legal requirements regarding flight safety are taken into account.
This presupposes, among other things, that the dykes up to the fjord are preserved and that the grasslands are grazed. During the period, the carbon build-up is continuously hedged.
- Aalborg Airport connects North Jutland with the rest of the world, where direct flight connections and the development of the airport benefit the entire region - including the businesses. The ambitions and opportunities Egholm Park brings happen independently of the plans for the upcoming 3rd Limfjord connection, says chairman of Aalborg Airport's board of directors, Thomas Kastrup-Larsen and continues - It is gratifying that we are now on the way to having a CO2- neutral airport, where investment is made in local climate compensation, which in addition strengthens the nature of North Jutland. It benefits Aalborg Airport, and it benefits the whole of North Jutland, where an example has now been created of how North Jutland companies and other actors can work together on climate improvements.