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July 2018

Working towards
carbon neutrality

Airport Carbon Accreditation level 3+ within reach

  • Emissions

40% less
C02 emissions
by 2030

Our goal is to reduce CO2 emissions. Thanks to investments in our energy policy and the initiation of projects with external partners, Brussels Airport is offsetting the emissions over which it has control.

Airport Carbon Accreditation level 3+ within reach

By 2030, no fewer than 100 European airports will be carbon neutral. That’s what the European airport sector announced during the Paris climate conference. In June 2018, 34 of the 133 participating airports had already achieved full carbon neutrality. To address the various sources of carbon emissions efficiently, they’ve been systematically divided into 3 categories:

  • Scope 1: commercial vehicles, energy generation, waste and water treatment plants.
  • Scope 2: purchased energy.
  • Scope 3: mobility of employees, purchased materials and emissions from external partners.

The umbrella organisation, Airports Council International, is encouraging airports to join the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation programme is founded on 2 strategic pillars: helping members reduce their climate impact and adapt to climate changes. For 6 years in a row, Brussels Airport has achieved Airport Carbon Accreditation level 3 − but in 2018, we’re going for 3+ − the highest level − which means complete carbon neutrality for our own emissions (scopes 1 & 2).


Calculating the carbon footprint
To achieve level 1, airports must calculate the carbon footprint of the activities that they themselves control (scopes 1 and 2) and have it verified by an external auditor.


Involving external partners
Level 3 requires airports to also measure the emissions that they do not control (scope 3) and to draw up a common policy by working closely with external partners.

The 4 levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme


Reducing carbon emissions
After calculating the carbon footprint, airports must implement local, effective reduction measures −which is the only way to achieve Airport Carbon Accreditation level 2.


Achieving carbon neutrality
To achieve the coveted level 3+ certificate, airports must further reduce their emissions and compensate for the remaining emissions of scopes 1 and 2, so that they are carbon neutral within these two scopes.

Objective for 2030 -40% CO2
Result for 2017 -34%

We’re approaching our goal of carbon-neutral operations. To offset the remaining scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions − and to achieve the coveted Airport Carbon Accreditation level 3+ − Brussels Airport is supporting the Saving Trees climate project in Uganda.

Emissions policy with impact

Antoine Geerinckx and Eric Dierckx of CO2logic

In 2010, Brussels Airport set an ambitious goal: to reduce its carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. Because our carbon emissions had already been lowered by 34% in 2017, we decided to set ourselves a further challenge: by 2030, reduce our carbon footprint by 40% compared to 2010. How are we tackling that goal? By limiting the use of fossil fuels as much as possible. We’re also encouraging the airlines that are active at Brussels Airport to reduce their carbon emissions too. And these initiatives are paying off − because in 2017 we produced 8% less CO2 than in 2016!

We talked about CO2 compensation and Saving Trees with the founder and CEO of CO2logic, Antoine Geerinckx, and the Managing Director of sister company Naturalogic, Eric Dierckx.

Read the interview

Saving trees in Uganda

95% of the Ugandan population use wood and charcoal every day for cooking. The consequence? The systematic deforestation of the rainforest. The Saving Trees project is counteracting that deforestation by breaking the dependence on wood and charcoal. Each year, with the support of Brussels Airport, CO2logic produces thousands of energy-efficient ovens in Uganda to help the local population save wood. The stoves are 40% to 50% more efficient and save a family up to 75 euro per year − about a quarter of the average annual income. So Saving Trees is good for the environment and the local economy!

The impact of Saving Trees in Uganda

  • +0 million

    trees saved
  • +0

    stoves in use
  • +0

    tonnes of charcoal saved
  • +0

    tonnes less CO2

Women now have more free time

A family saves up to €75 per year, a quarter of the average annual income

A whole series of co-benefits

Brussels Airport deliberately chose a project that does more than save CO2 and protect trees. Saving Trees is significantly reducing the pressure on women in Uganda, as they are often responsible for gathering wood and cooking food. Thanks to the efficient ovens, they now have more time and money for raising and schooling their children and other enriching projects. The modern appliances also generate less harmful fumes inside the houses and thus protect the health of the entire family. So, our efforts are contributing to numerous Sustainable Development Goals (UN goals): from fighting poverty and promoting social equality, to protecting biodiversity.

Sustainability is no longer costly. In fact, saving energy can even yield big returns.

What is CO2logic’s core activity?

Antoine: “We help companies reduce their ecological impact by following 4 steps: first, we calculate the current carbon footprint; then, we try to reduce emissions locally; next, we help companies offset their remaining emissions elsewhere; and finally, we help our customers communicate effectively about this.”

How do you calculate a company’s carbon footprint?

Eric: “We use conversion factors that are in line with the latest ISO standards and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This enables us to convert all the greenhouse gases that a company emits into CO2 equivalents. And that gives you the climate impact of all possible CO2 sources (including electricity consumption and the burning of fossil fuels) in 1 comparable figure.”
Antoine: "That last figure is very important today. Because you can summarise everything in one unit, our work is accessible and you can collaborate more easily with teams from different departments. Moreover, we can also attach a cost price to a quantity of CO2. In this way, we help companies set priorities quickly and efficiently. It’s expensive to be sustainable? Not anymore − because when you undertake actions in the right place, saving energy can even yield big returns.”

What exactly do you do for Brussels Airport?

Antoine: “Prior to our collaboration, Brussels Airport calculated its carbon emissions and also made efforts to reduce that figure every year. The airport contacted us specifically to help with the transition from level 3 to level 3+ in the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. This step means that Brussels Airport must compensate for its remaining emissions by supporting climate projects elsewhere. We call that carbon offsetting. In Brussels Airport’s case, they need to compensate for about 18,174 tonnes of CO2 for the year 2016 − that’s roughly the equivalent of driving a car for 102 million kilometres.”

What kinds of climate projects are you leading?

Antoine: “Most of our climate projects are in developing countries because investments have a greater effect there than in Europe. In developing countries, some 3 billion people still cook with wood and charcoal − which is contributing to deforestation.”
Eric: “The rainforest is crucial for our climate, and you can already see the effects of deforestation in long droughts in South America and Africa. We try to prevent these problems.”
Antoine: “We distribute energy-efficient ovens to help the local population save 40% to 50% in wood and charcoal. In addition, cooking with the ovens releases less smoke − which is good for everyone's health. If you merely plant trees without tackling the problem at its source, the people simply cut down trees somewhere else...”

Our ovens consume up to 50% less wood.

Why are you active primarily in Africa?

Antoine: "Unfortunately, the least developed countries are in Africa. Deforestation there is not a matter of political unwillingness, but of poverty and a demographic growth spurt. The population has to burn wood massively in order to prepare safe food.”
Eric: “But the potential for Africa is huge. In Europe, many companies are already up against a kind of ceiling − they have to pay thousands of euros to save 1 tonne of CO2. In Africa, you can save hundreds of tonnes of CO2 for the same amount of money. And the impact on our atmosphere is the same whether it’s a ton of CO2 in Europe or in Africa.”

How do you manage projects on another continent?

Antoine: “Everything begins with our local contacts. Before we start a project, we go to the project site to find dependable partners. Or they find us, because we’ve already built up a solid reputation. Often, they’re already involved in small-scale climate projects, and we help them with the certification. That way, their carbon reductions are recognised officially, so we can give reliable guarantees to companies. Measurable and verifiable − those are our basic principles.”
Eric: “We have 2 colleagues who travel to Africa about 3 times each year to check on local projects. You have to see our projects in real life in order to understand the total context.”
Antoine: “For our ovens, we also work as much as possible with local workshops, and we use only local raw materials. Together we are building a short, strong chain.”

What does the future have in store for CO2logic?

Antoine: “Our work will never be done, because there will always be carbon emissions. CO2 costs society money, and it’s a danger for future generations. We want to help companies take on that cost, just as they do with their profit and loss. After all, that’s only logical.”

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