EU Airports Go Big On Carbon Accreditation To Curb Emissions

According to a press release, these airports have committed to the target of limiting global warming to below 2⁰C and ideally 1.5⁰C, set by the Paris Agreement

The Basel-Mulhouse Airport has adopted strict carbon emission-reduction measures

The world is looking for ways to turn sustainable—and air travel is one of those areas in which the smallest interventions can reap maximum benefits. Some good news has emerged on this front.

Recently, Airports Council International (ACI), an organisation representing “the collective interests of airports around the world” has stated that 12 new airports in the European Union (EU) have vowed to continue to commit to global climate goals (in particular, those in the Paris Agreement). They have also agreed to meet the standards set by Airport Carbon Accreditation.

What is Airport Carbon Accreditation?

Airport Carbon Accreditation, by its own admission, is a “global carbon management certification, for airports” which “independently assesses the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions through six levels of certification”.

The aforementioned six levels are:

  • Mapping: measuring annual emissions, identifying sources and preparing a carbon footprint report

  • Reduction: mapping, plus gathering evidence of carbon management processes and showing reductions in emissions

  • Optimisation: includes mapping and reduction, but also additionally measures third-part carbon emissions to bring it under the ambit of the footprint report. Another aspect involves ensuring the participation of third parties at and around the airport

  • Neutrality: mostly concerns offsetting carbon emissions over which airports have control, using top-notch carbon credits. Also includes all the steps mentioned above

  • Transformation: aids in the laying-out of a long-term, well-defined carbon management strategy aligned with the targets set in the Paris Agreement, as well as inducing third parties to successfully deliver on emission-reduction goals

  • Transition: includes all the aspects mentioned above, while also focussing on the offsetting residual emissions within the control of airports by employing globally-recognised offsets

Which Airports Have Committed to the Goals?

According to, airports such as Basel-Mulhouse airport in France and Switzerland, Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter airports in Sweden, as well as nine airports in Portugal have been added to a list of 14 other airports that had previously aligned themselves to the mandates of the EU and the Paris Agreement. 

Swedish airports have already set a high benchmark in this regard, having reached an unprecedented Level 4+ Transition in 2020, after its decision to go fossil-free and the subsequent execution. The country’s next goal is to ensure that all of the ground operations in its airports become fossil free by 2025. The Basel-Mulhouse airport has also already met all the requirements to be upgraded to Level 4. It has also brought the deadline to meet its carbon emission-reduction goals forward—from 2050 to 2030.

Inside Arlanda Airport outside Stockholm. Swedish airports are a model of clean and green airports Rolf_52 /

Meanwhile, most of Portugal’s airports have been granted a Level 2 accreditation, barring a few exceptions that are nearing a Level 4 accreditation. In the country, carbon emissions are being managed through initiatives such as “adopting absolute renewable electricity, fleet electrification and LED deployment, and establishing effective partnerships to secure emissions reductions.”

SchengenVisa lists the following other airports who have adopted the emissions-reduction targets:

  • Faro, Flores, Madeira, Horta, Lisbon, Porto, Porto Santo, Santa Maria and Porto Santo in Portugal

  • Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Rome Ciampino and Leonardo da Vinci-Rome-Fiumicino in Italy

  • Cannes-Mandelieu, Saint Tropez and Nice Côte d’Azur in France

  • Rotterdam the Hague in the Netherlands

  • Göteborg Landvetter and Stockholm-Arlanda in Sweden