Airport sustainability encompasses a wide variety of practices that ensure protection of the environment, including conservation of natural resources; social progress that recognizes the needs of all stakeholders; and maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment. Many airports have begun to incorporate sustainability practices into their planning, construction, and daily operations because of their tangible benefits to them and their community or to respond to regulation and policy. Many airports, however, have also found barriers to implementing sustainability practices, including limited resources, lack of sustainability evaluation tools, staffing challenges, and lack of understanding and/or awareness. While there have been many efforts to define sustainability and to identify airport sustainability practices, there is no broad, industry-adopted approach to evaluate and select best practices, nor is there a rating system to gauge airport sustainability performance. Research was needed to develop a tool to help airports evaluate and select sustainability best practices, develop a rating system to gauge airport sustainability performance, and to assess the viability of industry-wide adoption of a rating system and voluntary certification program.
The objectives of this research were to (a) develop a decision tool for airports to identify, evaluate, prioritize, and select sustainability practices; (b) develop a prototype sustainability rating system to help airports and their stakeholders gauge sustainability performance; and (c) evaluate the viability of implementing the rating system and an associated voluntary airport sustainability certification program.