Emerging Issues for ACRP:
Airport Sustainability


Background Statement

Airport sustainability has many multi-disciplinary definitions, including operational efficiency. The airline system is national and an airport is a community facility. Sustainability reports are often among an airport’s communication outreach goals (e.g., WN One Heart Report to increase transparency). The meat of a sustainability report is not just environmental but also encourages smart practices in the normal course of business. The struggle is how to make a sustainable activity a financially smart move, prioritized correctly

Research Ideas

  • Identify interactions between airline and airport sustainability activities. Airlines typically have 12-18-month ROI requirements and airports typically operate with longer ROI requirements. How do airports and airlines align their differing ROI requirements and lifecycle calculation mechanics?
  • How can airports concisely communicate/convey messages around sustainability?
  • Integrate tenant and concessionaire sustainability programs into airport program reporting.
  • Create airport specific sustainability metrics from current national and international airport best practices to complement appropriate master plan timelines.
  • How do you tell the story, collect the data, develop constituencies, and provide what it takes to enhance airport capacity to support the communities they serve?
  • Where should sustainability staff reside in the airport organization?
  • Develop a guidebook on implementing the “License to Grow” concept. Key activities in this "license to grow" strategy consist of proactive engagement with diverse stakeholders, including working with competitors in a precompetitive framework. In addition, integrating environmental and social sustainability strategies into business strategies. This new way of thinking about growth is a departure from a more traditional risk mindset (social license to operate).


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