Sydney Intl Airport vows to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the year 2030

By Andrew Pentol |

Sydney Airport’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions incorporates all emissions under its operational control.

Sydney Airport has announced it will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and outlined the ‘practical initiatives and actions’ that will ensure it fulfils this commitment.

The airport has a strong track record of incorporating sustainability into its operations. In recent years it entered into a corporate power purchase agreement for renewable energy and developed financial instruments such as sustainability-linked bonds and loans.

According to the airport, the commitment to achieve net zero by 2030 incorporates all emissions under its operational control.

These comprise ‘Scope 1’ emissions that are generated by the airport’s vehicle fleet and natural gas use and ‘Scope 2’ emissions, representing the emissions created during the production of the airport’s electricity needs.

The airport’s ‘Scope 2’ emissions, which represent 93% of emissions under the airport’s operational control, will be eliminated by reducing electricity use and switching to 100% renewable energy.


‘Scope 1’ emissions account for 7% of the emissions under the airport’s operational control and will be reduced by moderating reliance on natural gas, transitioning vehicles to low or no-emission technology and phasing out fuel-powered equipment like diesel generators.

Retailers such as Gebr. Heinemann at Sydney Airport could be offered renewable energy as part of the airport’s plan to reduce ‘Scope 3’ emissions.

If there is a small residual proportion of ‘Scope 1’ emissions that cannot be eliminated by alternative technologies or management practices, these can be offset by the purchase of credits from carbon removal projects such as reforestation programmes.

Geoff Culbert, CEO, Sydney Airport said: “The aviation industry has a critical role to play in combatting climate change and we are making this commitment with clear line of sight to the outcome, and definite actions to get there.

“Sydney Airport is proud of the leadership position we’ve taken on sustainability. We’ve put our money where our mouth is through initiatives like our sustainability-linked loan and bond, which ensure our sustainability commitments have genuine financial imperatives.

“We are always on the lookout for ways we can do more and our commitment to achieve net zero by 2030 extends our leadership on sustainability.”

Sydney Airport will continue its programme to target indirect ‘Scope 3’ emissions, which represent those that are outside the airport’s operational control but occur as a result of the airport’s activities.

These include the carbon emissions generated by ground transport to and from the airport and by aircraft taking off and landing.


Initiatives to reduce ‘Scope 3 ’emissions range from offering the airport’s retail and commercial tenants renewable energy to facilitating the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels.

In October 2020 the airport acquired the on-site jet fuel infrastructure assets in an $85 million transaction. This was driven partly by an ambition to influence the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels in the future.

The airport will also continue its programme of installing ground power units and pre-conditioned air, which allow parked aircraft to plug into electricity. This removes the need to run aircraft engines to operate on-board lights, instruments and air-conditioning.

Alicia Burgmann, Head of Sustainability, Sydney Airport commented: “Climate change is a global challenge that requires a collective response. The aviation industry is alive to the challenge and we are really proud to be playing our part.”


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