Wellington Airport commits to a science-based target for reducing emissions

15 Aug 2023

Wellington Airport has added a new layer of accountability to its 2030 net zero emissions target by signing a commitment letter with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the first step in having an independently validated emissions target.

The SBTi is a global body that independently assesses and approves companies’ targets to ensure they are in line with a 1.5-degree future.

As the next step, Wellington Airport will be submitting a target of net zero emissions by 2030 and absolute zero emissions by 2050 for its own operations to be assessed by the SBTi. The airport also commits to continuing regular disclosure of progress as part of this process.

Wellington Airport chief executive Matt Clarke says:

“We’re entering this process because we want to ensure our emissions targets are credible and that we’re accountable for our progress.

“It’s important for us that our targets are more than just talk, and that we deliver.

“We’ve already made good progress with our net emissions down 27% since 2017. The challenge is to maintain this and decouple emissions from passenger growth.

“Improving our energy efficiency in the terminal and replacing ground vehicles with electric vehicles have made a real difference, and the next big steps are to replace our gas boiler system and use only certified renewable electricity.

“We’re also working directly with airlines to support their decarbonisation goals, because the entire aviation system needs to decarbonise, not just airports. Our location is ideally suited to be a hub for electric flights and we’re working with the Government and airlines to speed up the development of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)."

Other recent progress by Wellington Airport includes:

  • Achieving Level 2 (Reduction) Certification from the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
  • Rated third best participating airport in the world for performance and management of environmental, social and governance by GRESB assessment.
  • Converting $100 million of bank facilities into sustainability linked loans.
  • Partnering with electric aircraft manufacturer Heart Aerospace alongside other New Zealand airports and airlines.

Further information

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with the latest climate science. The SBTi’s goal is to accelerate companies across the world to support the global economy to halve emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero before 2050.

The initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.