1. Sustainability
September 11, 2023

Hong Kong and the world’s greenest airport pledge

The aviation industry and sustainability are not natural bedfellows, but Hong Kong still aims to be the world's greenest airport.

By Alex Summers

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is embarking on an ambitious journey to secure its place as the world’s greenest airport, according to the release of the Airport Authority Hong Kong Sustainability Report. Driven by a commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship, HKIA has adopted a multifaceted approach to reduce its environmental footprint while championing climate resilience and green design, the report claims.

green Hong Kong
An aircraft flies over Hong Kong. (Photo by Pisa Photography/Shutterstock)

HKIA’s mission to become the epitome of environmental responsibility has led to the implementation of notable initiatives. These efforts encompass a broad spectrum, including reducing carbon emissions, curtailing energy consumption, and advocating climate resilience and eco-friendly design.

As air travel rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, HKIA is resolute in mitigating its direct and indirect emissions. The airport annually measures, reduces and discloses its carbon footprint. HKIA has achieved Level 4 “Transformation” in the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) programme, a globally recognised certification standard for airports. This achievement, the report claims, reflects HKIA’s comprehensive carbon management plan and its collaborative efforts to engage stakeholders in accelerating carbon reduction across the airport in an effort to be the world’s greenest.

Additionally, HKIA continues to execute its Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan (CARP) to navigate climate-related risks and seize opportunities.

Greenest airport: HKIA’s 2050 net-zero carbon pledge

In a move towards a sustainable future, HKIA unveiled the HKIA 2050 Net Zero Carbon Pledge. This pledge aligns with global climate goals, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5°C. It also dovetails with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government’s carbon neutrality target and the Airports Council International’s (ACI) long-term vision of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 for the aviation sector.

hong kong: world's greenest airport
Hong Kong International Airport: can it be the world’s greenest? (Photo by Lo Kin-hei/Shutterstock)

This commitment has the support of 29 of HKIA’s key aviation-related business partners across various sectors, including airlines, aircraft maintenance, aviation fuel, cargo handling, and more.

The airport has also initiated various efforts to promote renewable energy generation through on-site solar projects, investigate the feasibility of hydrogen application as a clean energy source, and bolster energy efficiency through solutions like LED lighting and energy management systems.

Championing biodiversity and noise management

Recognising its proximity to rich marine and terrestrial ecosystems, the report outlines HKIA’s commitment to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity. The airport has taken green significant steps, such as implementing a Marine Ecology and Fisheries Enhancement Strategy (MEFES) and supporting the independent Marine Ecology Enhancement Fund (MEEF) and Fisheries Enhancement Fund (FEF) to protect local ecosystems and species, including the Chinese white dolphin.

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In parallel, HKIA takes a proactive approach to noise management, ensuring that the impact of noise generated by aviation operations is minimised for surrounding communities. The implementation of the Noise Quota Count Scheme and various noise-mitigating measures are put forward as evidence of the airport’s dedication to maintaining a ‘harmonious environment for all’.

HKIA’s pursuit of sustainability and the goal of being the ‘world’s greenest airport’ hopefully sets a precedent for transport hubs worldwide.

[Read more: Hong Kong surpasses Singapore as a green finance hub]

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