Sustainability taking off at Hawke’s Bay Airport

Hawke’s Bay Airport is taking big strides on its path to sustainability, becoming the first regional airport in New Zealand to gain a Level 2 certification under the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. 

As the international gold standard for airport carbon management, the certification recognises Hawke’s Bay Airport’s commitment to emissions reduction, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. 

Chief Executive Stuart Ainslie is proud of the achievement and says it’s part of a broader commitment to embed sustainability in every aspect of the airport’s operation. 

“We’ve made a conscious decision to put sustainability at the heart of our business, and this is an important step toward our ultimate goal: being New Zealand’s most sustainable airport.” 

More than 330 airports around the world are actively addressing carbon emissions in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, including London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. It includes six levels: mapping, reduction, optimisation, neutrality, transformation and transition. 

Hawke’s Bay Airport achieved Level 1 in January 2020, mapping its carbon emissions and approving a plan for reducing and offsetting. 

Mr Ainslie says achieving Level 2 required the airport to show that it had made meaningful change in its emissions. 

“It’s a stringent process with everything verified by independent and qualified experts. It shows that our commitment to sustainability is more than just words – we’re actually on the way to making a real difference.” 

Hawke’s Bay Airport has achieved a 12% reduction in average emissions per passenger so far, using the 2016-2018 period as a baseline, and Mr Ainslie says they’re only just getting started. 

“We’ve looked at emissions that are within our control and have switched to 100% renewable and CarboNZero-certified electricity, as well as adding electric and hybrid vehicles into our fleet. We’re now constructing a new Bikeport that will connect to our cycleways, and we’re working closely with Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay to improve wildlife habitats across the region.” 

“We’ve made good progress but recognise that it’s only the beginning of a journey. We’re committed to being leaders in this space, and have set a goal of being the first carbon neutral airport in New Zealand. We’ve developed a plan to help us get us there, and we’re already working towards it.”