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Moroccan airports chart course for better carbon management at COP22


21 Nov 2016


Global Europe
Climate & Environment

•  UNFCCC’s 22nd “Conference of the Parties” (COP22) climate talks just completed in Morocco

•  Morocco’s 2 busiest airports now at the ‘Mapping’ level of Airport Carbon Accreditation

•  173 airports worldwide currently certified under the 4 levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme - and last year they welcomed 36.4% of air passengers worldwide


Marrakesh, Morocco: Building on last year’s COP21, where new global targets to limit climate change were agreed during last year’s climate negotiations*, the next round of these talks – COP22 – has just been completed in Marrakesh, Morocco.

During a special ceremony at the event, Marrakesh-Menara and Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca became certified at the ‘Mapping’ level of Airport Carbon Accreditation the global carbon standard for the airport industry.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme certifies airports at 4 different levels of accreditation covering all stages of carbon management (1. Mapping, 2. Reduction, 3. Optimisation and 3+. Neutrality). It is independently administered, institutionally-endorsed¹ and has the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the European Commission (EC) and others.

Ali Tounsi, Regional Director of ACI Africa commented «We are delighted to see the airport of Marrakesh-Menara and Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca enter Airport Carbon Accreditation - it is great to welcome airports from Morocco into the programme, especially while the country is hosting the COP22. It is always good to see new entrants embarking on the journey of better carbon management and we will continue doing everything we can to support them, through the knowledge exchange that comes with being part of this programme - the airport industry’s collective effort to lower its contribution to climate change. This is all the more important as airport climate action also supports the achievement of several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which are of key importance to Africa.»

«We are very encouraged to see these 2 airports embark on a strategy to reduce their carbon emissions. Their proactivity underlines how better carbon management can gain ground here in Africa, in parallel to advancing in other parts of the world.»  said Niclas Svenningsen, who heads the Climate Neutral Now initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Bonn, Germany.

Mr. Zouhair Mohammed El Aoufir, CEO of Morrocan Airports Authority (ONDA), operator of airports in Casablanca and Marrakesh said «We are pleased to receive today this first level of accreditation which validates ONDA's approach in the management of Greenhouse gas emissions from the two biggest airports in Morocco – in terms of traffic, these airports also represent 6.7% of the African continent's air traffic. With this voluntary action we demonstrate our sincere commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our activities.»



At last year’s COP21, the European airport industry pledged to have 50 carbon neutral airports by 2030. In the past year, 5 more airports in Europe have reached that goal, bringing the total number in Europe to 25. In addition, in the past 3 months, Dallas Fort Worth Airport has become the first carbon neutral airport in North America and Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, the first carbon neutral airport in Asia.


To find out the full results for Year 7 of the programme (June 2015 to May 2016) including the carbon reduction achieved, visit the programme’s dedicated results microsite:






The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has estimated that aviation’s total CO2 emissions account for 2% of global emissions’ impact on climate change. Of that figure, airports’ own operations only account for up to 5%, but airports are keen to tackle their greenhouse gas emissions – several individual airports operators having already committed to becoming carbon neutral in the past few years with some having already achieved this.

* At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC, the so-called Paris Agreement was concluded, in which the signatories commit themselves to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while intending to not exceed 1.5°C. In addition, the Agreement aims at strengthening abilities to climate adaptation and an enhanced climate finance. To achieve the defined objective of limited global warming, States submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), setting out their proposed climate policies in view of their respective historic, current and anticipated future emissions, as well as mitigation capabilities. The COP21 has recognised that the currently proposed INDCs were not sufficient to reach the target of 2°C; they therefore have to be reviewed every five years with the aim of a progressively increasing ambition. While international aviation emissions are not covered by the Paris Agreement but are addressed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), emissions under the direct control by the airport as well as aircraft emissions from domestic flights are within its scope and thus subject to INDCs. The full text of the Paris Agreement can be found on

Airports are at different points on this journey to become cleaner and more efficient. As the centrepoints of a complex web of aircraft movements, technical operations and surface access transport, airports can address their CO2 emissions in a variety of ways. These can include better insulation and energy efficiency, switching to green energy sources, investing in hybrid, electric or gas-powered service vehicles, encouraging employees, passengers & visitors to use public transport, working with airlines & air traffic management to reduce runway taxiing times and implement green landing processes and much more.

Originally developed and launched by ACI Europe in June 2009, Airport Carbon Accreditation was extended to airports in Asia-Pacific, in November 2011 (in partnership with ACI Asia-Pacific) and to African airports in June 2013, (in partnership with ACI Africa) and North American airports in September 2014 (in partnership with ACI-NA).

¹The programme is administered by leading consultancy WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff and overseen by an independent Advisory Board including representatives from the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change), ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme), the European Commission, ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference), EUROCONTROL and Manchester Metropolitan University.

As the programme administrator, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff assesses and approves the airports under the programme, provides administrative and secretariat services and advises applicant airports through the accreditation process. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff is one of the world’s leading professional services firms. Amongst others it provides services to transform the built environment and restore the natural one and expertise ranging from environmental / climate remediation to urban and transport planning, to designing and implementing sustainable transport networks and strategies, to airport sustainability carbon management and energy planning and management.


To find out which airports are certified & their level of certification, visit:


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