Airports Council Announces Winners of 2020 Environmental Achievement Awards

WASHINGTON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, today recognized the winners of the 2020 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards. The 2020 award recipients are the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Indianapolis Airport Authority, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Vancouver Airport Authority, and PortsToronto for their work to preserve the environment through innovative programs and policies. John Wayne Airport was recognized with an honorable mention.

“Environmental sustainability is a top priority for North American airports, and these award recipients are a testament to our members’ extraordinary commitment to protecting the environment and supporting their communities,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “By consistently challenging themselves to innovate and adopt sustainable practices, the 2020 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Award recipients stand out as industry leaders. I’m proud of the work underway at airports and look forward to continued progress.”

Established by the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee, the annual Environmental Achievement Awards acknowledge the achievements and dedication of ACI-NA members by promoting awareness more broadly within the airport community, the general public and regulators of the many innovative efforts taking place at airports. ACI-NA annually awards up to five awards recognizing outstanding achievement in the categories of Environmental Management; Environmental Mitigation; Outreach and Communication; Innovation; and Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources.

Winners in each category were selected by a panel of judges who reviewed the project’s environmental benefits, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability and cost-effectiveness. Each winner will give a brief overview of their project during a virtual awards presentation on August 26.

About the Winners

Environmental Management Award Category: Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) was selected as the category winner for their “Greenhouse Gas Reductions – 20/2020” project, with the judges noting both the impressive reductions GTAA has achieved, as well as the broad scope of the program as GTAA looks beyond carbon emissions. GTAA, which operates Toronto Pearson International Airport, introduced its first greenhouse gas policy in December of 2009, committing to a 20 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction for Scope 1 and 2 emissions. At the end of the 2019 calendar year, GTAA reduced these emissions by almost 60 percent compared to the 2006 baseline – completing a major milestone in its path towards long-term environmental sustainability. Through its policy, GTAA also ensured that future airport projects take GHG into account as part of cost estimates and budgeting, paving the way for continued sustainability initiatives.

Mitigation Award Category: Indianapolis Airport Authority won the award for its “Comprehensive & Scalable Sustainability Toolkit.” The Airport Authority, which owns and operates Indiana’s largest airport system, demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through the development of a first-of-its kind, comprehensive toolkit that can be applied to all aviation projects – from terminal renovations to taxiway and runway reconstructions. The toolkit provides an automated dashboard so staff can clearly track each project’s sustainability progress, easing the burden on project teams tasked with integrating sustainability into design and construction. This program is implemented across the entire airport system, benefitting from the scales and operational environments of its airports. The judges selected this project for the mitigation award appreciating the low cost approach to integrating sustainability into the project planning process.

Outreach and Communication Award Category: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority was selected for its “Airport Development Plan (ADP) Outreach.” The replacement of Terminal 1 is the centerpiece of the Airport Authority’s ADP, which envisions a series of improvements intended to ensure that passengers’ first and last impressions of San Diego are positive. The Airport Authority released its original Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the ADP in July 2018. Over the next 14 months, more than 100 meetings were held to listen and learn from the community. The EIR was then revised to reflect community input and a new document was recirculated in September 2019. This thorough community outreach and collaboration impressed the judges and was key to ultimately receiving Board approval for the ADP and demonstrates the Airport Authority’s commitment to serving as a responsible community partner.

Innovation Award Category: Vancouver Airport Authority was recognized as the category winner for its “Innovative Waste Management.” The Airport Authority utilizes a comprehensive, community-based approach to waste management, including the implementation of artificial intelligence waste bins, centralized waste sorting stations, and a chopstick recycling and repurposing initiative. The amount of coordination required across stakeholders, as well as the innovative use of artificial intelligence led the judges to select this submittal as an award winner. In 2015, Vancouver International Airport’s (YVR) Environmental Management Plans established an aggressive 50 percent waste diversion target by 2020 – a target that was exceeded just one year later. These efforts have equated to a 30 percent decrease in garbage produced per passenger since 2012. Given this success, YVR has set a new target of 60 percent waste diversion by 2024, once again pushing the boundaries of waste management and challenging itself to innovate.

Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources Award Category: PortsToronto received the award for their “Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Master Plan.” The Master Plan project proved to be an invaluable and cost-effective approach to consult, engage, and educate the community, public agencies, airport tenants and stakeholders of the future of the airport. Located just steps from downtown Toronto, Billy Bishop Airport’s (YTZ) proximity to the city is a driving force in encouraging innovation and community collaboration. The Master Plan – titled Cleaner, Greener, Quieter – demonstrates the significant results that YTZ has achieved in sustainability and refines its vision to be a global leader in how a modern airport operates in an urban environment. The theme, multiple stakeholder coordination, and the integration of sustainability and outreach into this project stood out for the judges.

Honorable Mention: An honorable mention is awarded to John Wayne Airport (JWA) for its “Waste Amnesty Event” in the Environmental Improvement with Limited Resources category. Over several days, JWA hosted a waste collection event for its concessionaires and airline tenants to promote general housekeeping, safety, and reduction of potential pollutants. Approximately 16.5 tons of recyclable and non-recyclable materials were collected, including scrap metal, e-waste, batteries, furniture, wood, and plastic containers. By providing an organized and inclusive approach to a proactive housekeeping program – rather than working with individual tenants on a reactive basis – JWA’s Waste Amnesty Event serves as an example of effective waste storage management that the judges complimented for addressing a need that is sometimes otherwise overlooked.



About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. Collectively, U.S. airports support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at