How Does a Carbon Management Scheme Work in Practice?
The specifics are to be determined in close collaboration with members of the ports industry but the scheme could be similar to ACA. Ports could be certified at one of four levels (mapping, reduction, optimisation, neutrality) and encouraged to demonstrate continuous improvement while collaborating with third parties and stakeholders. With its independent verification and administration (carried out by WSP), as well as having an expert advisory board, ACA provides a robust framework allowing airports to take new initiatives, measure metrics and report demonstrable progress. Such action is contributing to climate and risk mitigation. “Walking-the-talk” is well received by city authorities, local and international regulators, and financial entities involved in aviation.
What Can Ports Learn from ACA?
There is a feeling by some that, together, the ports sector is not doing enough about reducing GHG emissions. Many ports state that their emissions are much lower than those from shipping. Indeed, they contribute a small percentage in the transport of cargo from continent to continent. However, with every organisation expected to do their part, this is no reason for inaction. Initiatives by individual ports cannot take the sector forward collectively. Much more needs to be done in a consistent manner. Data collated following a verified accurate approach would ensure total reliability in reporting and benchmarking.
ACA was developed by the industry in response to an urgent need to demonstrate tangible action on climate change to regulators, customers, city authorities and local communities. It recognises the important role that airports play in the global logistics chain but also their ability to engage and influence the emissions of third parties (e.g. the airline landing and take-off cycle, as well as passenger transport to and from the airport).
There is a clear parallel with ports and terminals, where ocean-going vessels berth and set sail from a quay laden with cargo. Containers, for instance, are delivered to, or taken from the port by road, rail or river. Passengers may also embark or leave a cruise vessel.
Like ports today, airports previously lacked a clear system for managing and reporting GHG emissions. A structured carbon management programme would enable ports to benchmark their performance against the industry average (worldwide, regional and ports at the same certification level) and learn from the member community. Based on ACA experience, benefits of scheme membership include: individual and sector recognition, identification of efficiencies, cost reductions, and a streamlined industry approach to carbon reduction and transparent disclosure.
How Can Ports Replicate this Success?
Carbon management for the ports sector is becoming a reality. WSP has commenced discussions with the ports sector around building a similar scheme. This process must be led by representatives of the ports industry who want to set the direction of the sector and tackle the challenges of a lower carbon future. Thanks to the lessons learned with the ACA, ports have the opportunity to implement an efficient programme and reap the rewards faster.