San Diego International Airport (SAN) is now North America’s second-ever carbon neutral airport. SAN, joined only by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the U.S., reached carbon neutral accreditation from the global agency that establishes carbon standards for airports worldwide.
SAN is certified at “Level 3+,” the highest level of certification through Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program. The third-party verified program is a framework that helps airports identify, manage, and reduce their carbon emissions.
“This year marks an important milestone in our efforts to promote sustainability and strengthen our commitment to the environment,” said Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “We congratulate San Diego International Airport on achieving carbon neutral status. Airports like San Diego International Airport are leading efforts in our industry to lower our carbon footprint through the Airport Carbon Accreditation program. ACI-NA applauds the airport for their leadership on sustainability and commitment to remaining good environmental partners in their communities.”
SAN reached Level 3 certification through the ACA program in 2018. Since then, the Airport Authority, which operates SAN, worked closely with its carbon-offset program, “The Good Traveler,” to offset any remaining direct carbon emissions produced by the Airport Authority. By doing so, the airport met the final criteria to reach Level 3+ Carbon Neutrality.
“Reaching carbon neutrality has long been a goal for the Airport Authority, one we have been committed to and striding toward year after year,” said Kim Becker, SAN’s President/CEO. “We knew we could do more to operate more efficiently. This accreditation is testament to not only the efforts of the Airport Authority, but those of our regional stakeholders and airport business partners to do their part in minimizing the airport’s carbon footprint.”
Level 3+ certification signifies that the airport is successfully:
- Completing annual carbon emission inventories (which are third-party verified)
- Continuing to reduce carbon emissions under the Airport Authority’s direct control on a year-over-year basis
- Offsetting any residual emissions under the Airport Authority’s direct control (namely, from fuel used in fleets and generators, purchased electricity, and staff business travel)
- Effectively engaging with airlines, ground transportation operators, and other business partners to help them reduce their onsite carbon emissions
Examples of SAN’s initiatives to reach carbon neutrality include creating a novel greenhouse gas reduction program for rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber, launching “The Good Traveler” carbon offset program that has expanded nationally to 14 partner airports, and partnering with San Diego Gas & Electric to expand airport charging infrastructure for airport employees and electric-powered airside ground service equipment.