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Nice Airport becomes the first carbon neutral airport in France


30 Aug 2016


Sustainable Dev.
  • Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur - France’s third busiest airport - achieves carbon neutral status, certified by Airport Carbon Accreditation
  • First carbon neutral airport in France, 25th in the world
  • 33.6% of air passengers worldwide now travel through airports certified under the 4 levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme

Nice, France: Building on France’s highly regarded hosting of COP21, where new global targets to limit climate change were agreed during last year’s climate negotiations*, the airport of Nice Côte d’Azur - France’s third busiest airport – has now achieved carbon neutral status, certified by the independent carbon management programme Airport Carbon Accreditation.

In parallel, the sister airports of Cannes Mandelieu and Saint-Tropez have become certified at Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ of the programme.

Since 2011, the airport group has been participating in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. Over time, it has successfully engaged 37 partner companies on its airport sites to work with them to lower their collective carbon footprint - including airlines, freight companies, helicopter companies, retailers, restaurateurs, fuel providers, cleaning companies, security providers and many more.

In the intervening 5 years, Aéroport Nice Côte D’Azur has successfully reduced its carbon footprint, lowering its carbon emissions by 75% per passenger kilogram and has now taken the additional step of purchasing recognised carbon offsets for the remainder of the carbon emissions under its direct control.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme - launched by the airport association ACI EUROPE in 2009 - 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 Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the European Union (EU) and others.

Reacting to the news of Nice Côte d’Azur’s achievement, Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE commented « I would like to warmly congratulate all of the team at Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur for their work and this historic achievement that sees Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur become carbon neutral – the first in France. The demands of the 4 levels of certification of Airport Carbon Accreditation are rigorous, requiring strategic engagement and diligent work from the airport operator. Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur today becomes the 25th carbon neutral airport in the world. During COP21, our industry formally committed to having 50 carbon neutral airports in Europe by 2030. With the good example of innovative airports like Nice Côte d’Azur, we are on the right track.

Dominique Thillaud, Chairman of the Management Board of the Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA) Group « Our group committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its daily activities. Today we are proud that the Nice platform is the first French airport to make it all the way to carbon neutrality - 2 years ahead of our initial target - and this in spite of increased capacity due to growing traffic. This reflects our strong dedication to emissions reductions across all the ACA Group, including the airports of Cannes Mandelieu and Saint-Tropez and demonstrates that we are doing our part to achieve the goals set at the COP21, joining several other European airports already certified at Level 3+. »

"Today’s announcement that Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur has achieved carbon neutrality through Airport Carbon Accreditation is excellent news. We are very encouraged by the growing number of carbon neutral airports here in Europe, all the more so when it is one as prominent as Nice, in the country that hosted COP21,” said Niclas Svenningsen, who heads the Climate Neutral Now initiative at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Bonn, Germany.

The full results for Year 7 of the programme (June 2015 to May 2016) including the carbon reduction achieved, will be released at this year’s ACI NA & ACI WORLD Annual General Assembly in Montreal from 25 to 28 September.

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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 has been 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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