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Commentary: The carbon neutrality of Finavia’s airports has required emission reductions, investment and residual emission offsets

Article published
21.9.2022 at 08:28
Mikko Viinikainen, kestävä kehitys
Our climate programme started in 2008. Nine years later, in 2017, Finavia’s operations at Helsinki Airport achieved carbon neutrality, and the same happened at the regional airports two years later, writes Mikko Viinikainen, Vice President, Sustainability & Environment at Finavia.

We have achieved carbon neutrality at our airports through systematic, long-term emission reductions, investment and residual emission offsets.

All of the electricity used by our airports is produced using 100% Guarantee of Origin (GO) wind power in accordance with EU regulations. What is more, our own solar power station at Helsinki Airport produces electricity for the terminals and car parks.

In addition to renewable electricity, our field vehicles have adopted renewable diesel made from waste and residue. We have improved our energy efficiency in many ways, for example, by switching to the use of LED technology in the lighting of our runways and terminals.

The emissions of the carbon neutral airport operations are now mainly down to heating and machinery.

We compensate for the remaining emissions through offsets.

We will take our efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions even further, and we are switching exclusively to renewable energies. Our next target is zero emissions.

Aurinkopaneelit kaukolentoalueen rakennuksen katolla

How do Finavia’s emission offsets work?

Finavia has joined the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme of Airports Council International (ACI). It requires emission verification and provides exact quality criteria for compensation projects.

All of our compensations are achieved via projects certified in accordance with the Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard (Verra) requirements. The projects require third-party verification and continuous reporting, which ensure the reduction of emissions and the credibility of the projects.

The emission offsets we have acquired are from projects aimed at producing clean and reasonably priced energy for households in developing countries, such as India and Ghana. The projects also promote the health of women and children.

We have also acquired emission offsets from wind power plant, solar power plant and biogas plant projects.

We understand that carbon neutral airports will not solve the climate challenges of the entire global aviation industry. That is why we work in close cooperation with all of the companies and organisations in our air traffic value chain to promote sustainable air travel.

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