Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Net zero by 2030

In May 2021, Sydney Airport announced it will achieve net zero emissions under its operational control by 2030 (Scope 1 and 2 emissions).

Our 2022-24 sustainability targets support our commitment to net zero, including 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 and year-on-year reductions in emissions per m2. See our latest Sustainability Report for more about our targets.

In addition to our net zero by 2030 target, we remain committed to be carbon neutral by 2025, in line with the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program.

To achieve net zero by 2030, the Airport’s Scope 2 emissions, which represent approximately 92% of emissions under the Airport’s operational control, will be eliminated by reducing electricity use and switching to 100% renewable energy.

Scope 1 emissions account for approximately 8% of the emissions under the Airport’s operational control and will be reduced by moderating reliance on natural gas, transitioning vehicles to low or no-emission technology, and phasing out fuel-powered equipment like diesel generators.

If there is a small, residual proportion of Scope 1 emissions that cannot be eliminated by alternative technologies or management practices, these can be offset by the purchase of credits from carbon removal projects, for example, reforestation programs.


A priority-based hierarchy is applied to ensure the transition provides flexibility in growth, a balanced risk portfolio and commercial competitiveness while striving to achieve carbon neutral by 2025 and net zero by 2030.

Maintaining our focus on Scope 3

Sydney Airport will continue its program to target indirect ‘Scope 3’ emissions, which represent those that are outside the Airport’s operational control but occur as a result of the Airport’s activities. These include the carbon emissions generated by ground transport to and from the Airport and by aircraft taking off and landing.

Initiatives to reduce Scope 3 emissions will range from offering the Airport’s retail and commercial tenants renewable energy to facilitating the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels. In October 2020 the Airport acquired the on-site jet fuel infrastructure assets in an $85 million transaction driven partly by an ambition to influence the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels in the future.

The Airport will also continue its program of installing ground power units and pre-conditioned air, which allow parked aircraft to plug into electricity, removing the need to run aircraft engines to operate on-board lights, instruments, and air-conditioning.

Emissions reduction and adaption

Section 3.3 of the Airport Environment Strategy 2019-2024 sets out our key objectives in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the five-year action plan sets out how these will be achieved.

Our objectives are to reduce and manage the impacts of climate change on the airport by:

  • Understanding and minimising direct and indirect impacts associated with climate change
  • Cost effectively reducing energy and greenhouse gas emission intensities
  • Meeting all relevant regulatory requirements

Visit the climate resilience section for our approach to climate change.

We are carbon accredited

In 2008, Sydney Airport signed the Global Aviation Industry Commitment to Action on Climate Change. This agreement was an important demonstration of aviation’s worldwide voluntary commitment to researching and introducing technological, operational and efficiency advances that will reduce aviation’s contribution to climate change and reduce its impact on the environment.

Following this, the Airports Council International (ACI) established the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program to assist member airports in assessing and reducing their carbon footprint.

The ACA program recognises improved performance in carbon and energy management and encourages the implementation of initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality, in line with policies adopted by the ACI World’s General Assembly in November 2007. It is the only industry-specific, performance-based, voluntary and institutionally endorsed accreditation label designed specifically for airports.

Sydney Airport obtained ACA accreditation for the first time in May 2014. We currently hold Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ accreditation, which means we calculate scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and implement initiatives to reduce them, such as engaging with our airport business partners to support their efforts.

Our carbon footprint

We periodically monitor and report on our carbon footprint. Our emissions are reported to the Australian Government through the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) and disclosed in our Sustainability Report.

Our current management approach of carbon emissions is guided by our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 and net zero by 2030. Efforts continue to focus on those areas over which we have operational control as defined by the NGER Act 2007, while also working with stakeholders to reduce Scope 3 emissions.

We recognise the role of energy consumption and procurement in driving emission reductions across our operations. Electricity is the largest proportion of our energy consumption needs and accounts for for over 90% of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Therefore, integrating energy efficiency into our operations is key to achieving meaningful emission reductions.

Our pathway considers various decarbonisation options ranging from energy efficiency, strategic sourcing of renewables, engagement and carbon offsets. We also look to different sources of energy for our equipment and vehicles to transition away from fossil fuels, including options for electrifying our operational and business vehicle fleet.


A priority-based hierarchy is applied to ensure the transition provides flexibility in growth, a balanced risk portfolio and commercial competitiveness while striving to achieve carbon neutral by 2025 and net zero by 2030.

To learn more about our emissions performance, commitments and most recent initiatives to reduce emissions, see our latest Sustainability Report.

Sydney Airport has been a supporter of the TCFD since 2018 and has disclosed its climate change risk management in line with the TCFD reporting framework since that time. See our Response to the TCFD Recommendations for our detailed disclosure against its framework.