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Reducing Emissions

2020 Target: Reduce Emissions from 2012 levels by 33%
2017 Result: Emissions reduced 3%

YVR works with employees, business partners and communities to minimize vehicle, building and aircraft greenhouse gas emissions. We do this by promoting alternative forms of transportation to and from Sea Island, upgrading our fleet and improving airport infrastructure, reducing fossil fuel consumption and raising awareness of clean air practices. Additionally, we include consideration of greenhouse gas emissions as key criteria when evaluating projects.

Every five years, we hire external consultants to conduct a detailed emissions inventory of all sources of greenhouse gases at the airport. We measure, monitor and review emissions under several categories: activities YVR can control including direct emissions from Vancouver Airport Authority-owned and controlled operations, which include heating sources and vehicle operations, as well as indirect emissions from the purchase of electricity for our operations (Scope 1 and 2); activities we can only estimate because they are generated by airport businesses and public sources including aircraft operations and traffic on Sea Island (Scope 3).

In our Environmental Management Plan, we set an ambitious target to reduce Vancouver Airport Authority emissions (relative to Scope 1 and 2) by 33 per cent in 2020 from 2012 levels. We calculate annual emissions using a methodology consistent with the Provincial Government’s framework for reporting emissions and we review this inventory annually with an internal audit.

Under this methodology, our direct emissions were 9,355 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent units (CO2e) in 2017—a three per cent reduction from our 2012 baseline year (9,613 tonnes) and a 15 per cent reduction from 2007 (11,076 tonnes). Our emissions per passenger have improved 29 per cent from 2012 (0.546 tonnes/passenger) to 2017 (0.389 tonnes/passenger). In 2017, we used more natural gas to heat our buildings due to the cold and long winter and as a result saw an increase in our Scope 1 emissions. In addition, we used back-up generators for airfield lighting in low visibility conditions and as back-up power during a power outage in December.

Vancouver Airport Authority has low to moderate control over Scope 3 (Sea Island) emissions, but is in a position to influence reductions in greenhouse gases from the public and our business partners. When aircraft landing, taxiing and take-offs are included, our 2012 baseline measure is 311,304 tonnes of CO2e. Comprehensive emission inventories are performed every five years, with the next to be completed in 2018 for 2017.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2020 Goal
Scope 1 emissions (tonnes of CO2e
Fleet vehicles, plant operation, emergency power
7,761 8,185 8,564 7,861 6,568 8,205
Scope 2 emissions (tonnes of CO2e
Purchased Electricity
1,852 1,322 998 1,096 1,108 1,150
Total 9,613 9,507 9,562 8,958 7,720 9,355 6,441*

*Represents a 33% reduction over 2012 levels

In 2017 our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased three per cent from our 2012 baseline level. Thanks to our aggressive 2012 reduction targets, we established a range of initiatives that will ensure we continue to reduce our emissions. Had we not taken action, our 2017 footprint would have been approximately 1.5 times larger. As we experience strong passenger growth, these passengers draw on greater heating, cooling and electrical demand. This, combined with annual fluctuations in weather, contribute to our annual emissions.

While our current forecasts project that we won’t achieve our emissions target in 2020, we are on the right path. In 2022, YVR will complete one of Canada’s largest GeoExchange plants, located underneath our new Central Utilities Building. This plant will greatly reduce our environmental footprint and help us meet our aggressive reduction target two years behind schedule.

Airport Carbon Accreditation

In 2017 we successfully renewed our Level 2 accreditation through Airports Council International (ACI) and its Airport Carbon Accreditation program. Our renewal was thanks to our efforts to measure our carbon footprint and our steps towards reducing emissions each year.

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