On 18 January, London Gatwick announced that it is the first UK airport to join more than 80 of the world’s most influential companies in a programme designed to generate a massive increase in the demand for renewable electricity. The airport will also become carbon neutral by the spring.
“The initiatives announced today are important milestones in Gatwick’s journey to become the UK’s most sustainable airport and one of the greenest in the world,” comments Stewart Wingate, CEO London Gatwick Airport. “We are serious about growing sustainably and we have some ambitious plans to develop in the most environmentally responsible way possible. We expect to see our world-first waste plant generating heat for our North Terminal this year and we are introducing an electric car sharing service, the first of its kind for a UK airport.”
The private sector accounts for around half the world’s electricity consumption and by working towards their 100% renewable electricity targets, the 87 companies in the RE100 alliance are creating demand for around 107 TWh of renewable electricity annually – almost equalling Holland’s yearly demand in 2015 (109 TWh). RE100 is led by the Climate Group, in partnership with CDP, a not-for-profit environmental organisation.
Gatwick Airport has been purchasing 100% renewable electricity since 2013 and is one of three new companies to join the RE100 alliance. By joining the corporate leadership programme the airport aims to play its part accelerating the UK’s move toward a low carbon economy.
“A set of rigorous environmental targets is driving our overall environmental performance and, despite a dramatic increase in our passenger numbers, I’m delighted today that our environmental footprint is the same or better today that it was in the early 1990s despite our passenger numbers doubling,” adds Wingate.
To this end, Gatwick’s use of 100% renewable electricity is a key part of the airport becoming carbon neutral later this year, as electricity comprises 80% of the airport’s operational carbon footprint. The remaining emissions will be offset through investments in international, national and local renewable energy programmes, in addition to continued investment in energy and fuel efficiency.
Damian Ryan, Acting CEO, The Climate Group, says: “It is really encouraging to see companies such as Gatwick committing to bold climate action, helping us move towards a new zero-emissions economy. But we need to see faster progress. In order to deliver on the Paris Agreement and keep global warming well below two degrees, we need government to remove policy barriers and create investment incentives that can provide easier access to renewable energy. And we need more business leaders to influence the usage of renewable power right along their supply chains.”