Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Net zero by 2030

In May 2021, Sydney Airport announced our commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions under our operational control by 2030 (Scope 1 and 2 emissions).

Our 2022-24 sustainability targets support our commitment to net zero, including 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 and year-on-year reductions in emissions per m2. See our latest Sustainability Report for more about our targets.

In addition to our Net Zero by 2030 (for Scope 1 and 2 emissions) target, we remain committed to achieving Level 4+ carbon accreditation, in line with the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program.

To achieve Net Zero by 2030 (for Scope 1 and 2 emissions), we intend to eliminate our Scope 2 emissions, which represent approximately ~91% of total Scope 1 and 2 emissions by reducing electricity use and switching to 100% renewable energy.

Scope 1 emissions account for approximately -9% of the emissions under the Airport’s operational control. We intend to reduce these emissions by switching to electric alternatives for building thermal systems, transitioning vehicles to low or no-emission technology, and phasing out fuel-powered equipment like diesel generators.

We expect there will be a small, residual proportion of Scope 1 emissions that cannot be practicably eliminated by alternative technologies or management practices. We intent to offset these emissions through the purchase of carbon removal credits.

image image

Maintaining our focus on Scope 3

Sydney Airport continues to focus on our indirect ‘Scope 3’ emissions, which represent those emissions that are outside the Airport’s direct operational control but occur as a result of the Airport’s activities. These include the carbon emissions generated from aircraft arriving and departing from the Airport, Airport ground operations (including tenant energy use, ground service equipment emissions and aircraft Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) running on gate) and ground transport to and from the Airport (passengers, staff and airport workers).

As part of our 2022-2024 Sustainability Strategy, we set a target to reduce Scope 3 emissions from airport ground operations by 50 per cent by 2025. We remain committed to achieving our target and plan to drive reductions in our Scope 3 ground operations emissions, through the following initiatives:

  • Tenant (third party) energy use: We plan to reduce emissions related to tenant electricity through the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which will come into effect from 1 January 2025. We intend to do this by supplying the equivalent of 100 per cent renewable electricity to tenants, (where we have existing power supply arrangements) and by retiring the associated large scale generation certificates (LGCs) on behalf of, or in collaboration with, our tenants.

  • Auxiliary Power Units (APU): To reduce APU emissions (Jet A1 fuel burn) whilst aircraft are on gate, Sydney Airport is implementing several initiatives to improve utilisation of Ground Power Units (GPU) and Pre-conditioned Air (PCA) across the precinct. Improved utilisation of this equipment reduces the need for aircraft to burn Jet A1 fuel whilst on gate, thereby significantly reducing emissions. Such initiatives include GPU infrastructure upgrades, system implementation for utilisation measurement, and other policy and governance mechanisms.

  • Ground Service Equipment (GSE): GSE are owned and used by ground handling agents at Sydney Airport to provide ground and baggage handling services for airlines. Transitioning the GSE fleet across the precinct to electric alternatives (eGSE) is expected to reduce the emissions associated with GSE vehicle fuel burn and should ultimately eliminate these emissions once Sydney Airport has the equivalent of 100 per cent renewable electricity supply, through the PPA. This transition will involve Sydney Airport installing eGSE charging infrastructure across the precinct, as well as working collaboratively with ground handling agencies and airlines to encourage them to transition their GSE fleet to electric alternatives.

As part of our approach to reduce Scope 3 emissions, Sydney Airport is actively advocating for a low carbon future (low carbon domestic and global aviation industry), with a specific focus on supporting the development of a local and global SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) industry, through active participation in the following;

  • Sydney Airport is a member of Bioenergy Australia’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Alliance for Australia and New Zealand (SAFAANZ) working group alongside aviation industry peers and fuel producers
  • Sydney Airport is participating in the Jet Zero Council via participation in the AAA Sustainability Working Group, which is delivering Workplan item #5 (identifying changes required to airport operations and infrastructure that will support decarbonising aviation).
  • As part of Sydney Airport’s Aviation Green Paper submission, we worked with Melbourne and Brisbane airports, in collaboration with IFM Investors (one of SAAH owner groups), to form a joint airport advocacy position to advance a domestic SAF industry in Australia. Sydney Airport’s Aviation Green Paper submission can be found here.

Refer to our Sustainability Report and Response to the TCFD Recommendations for further information about our Scope 3 emissions initiatives and associated climate resilience strategy.

Carbon accreditation

In 2008, Sydney Airport signed the Global Aviation Industry Commitment to Action on Climate Change. This agreement was an important demonstration of aviation’s worldwide voluntary commitment to researching and introducing technological, operational and efficiency advances that will reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change and reduce its impact on the environment.

Following this, the Airports Council International (ACI) established the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program to assist member airports in assessing and reducing their carbon footprint.

The ACA program recognises improved performance in carbon and energy management and encourages the implementation of initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality, in line with policies adopted by the ACI World’s General Assembly in November 2007. It is the only industry-specific, performance-based, voluntary and institutionally endorsed accreditation label designed specifically for airports.

Sydney Airport obtained ACA accreditation for the first time in May 2014. We currently hold Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ accreditation, which means we calculate scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and implement initiatives to reduce them, such as engaging with our airport business partners to support their efforts.

Our carbon footprint

We periodically monitor and report on our carbon footprint. Our Scope 1 and 2 emissions are reported to the Australian Government through the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) and disclosed in our Sustainability Report.