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Climate and the environment

Climate change and commodity shortages are global themes, so too in the aviation industry. Schiphol has chosen to contribute actively to resolving these problems, both in its own business operations and in partner collaborations. We endeavour to influence the behaviour of airport users and employees, in areas such as transport, waste separation, recycling materials or energy efficiency. We address these climate and environment-related topics under the socio-economic themes of Climate-friendly aviation, Accessibility and air quality, and Commodity shortages.

The environmental policy plan is divided into sections on air, energy, water, noise, waste, soil, hazardous substances, and nature and landscape. The objectives, tasks, responsibilities, powers and working agreements relating to environmental risk control are set out in the environmental management system. These activities are pivotal to the tactical environment consultation and the environment incident consultation.

Climate-friendly aviation

Within this theme the efforts we undertake focus on reducing energy consumption, generating our own sustainable energy and increasing the use of electric vehicles.

Reduction of CO2 emissions by Schiphol

The activities carried out by Schiphol itself at the Schiphol location are CO2 neutral. The main causes of CO2 emissions in our own business processes are energy consumption (heating, cooling and lighting) and mobility (the vehicle fleet).

With effect from this reporting year, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol calculates and reports in accordance with the GreenHouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol). This is because the Airport Carbon Accreditation benchmark organisation has adopted the CO2 methodology set out in the above protocol. This method is already in line with the G4 guidelines specified by the Global Reporting Initiative, which we plan to follow in the future.

Reporting in accordance with the GHG Protocol means that we report on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions instead of on control, guide and influence. The main difference is that in the latter classification, commuter traffic and business travel by air or by car come under the heading of 'control'. Under the new classification they have moved to scope 3. In addition, in 2013 there was a change in the method used to calculate CO2 emissions for gas consumption. The degree days method has made it possible to standardise consumption, enabling us to identify more precisely whether a particular increase or decrease can be attributed to improved energy efficiency. If 2012 emissions had been calculated according to this method, the volume would have been 1,511 tonnes lower.

We actively reduce our scope 1 and 2 footprint in that we save on energy and fuel consumption, use energy and fuel more efficiently, generate sustainable energy and use biofuel. In addition, we promote the reduction of indirect scope 3 emissions caused by business and commuter traffic. Schiphol is CO2 neutral for its own operations, thanks to compensation for the emissions related to activities performed in scope 1, scope 2 and partly also scope 3.

CO2 emissions in tonnes1

Caused by



Scope 1

Natural gas and fuel consumption under the SNBV licence



Scope 2




Scope 3

Indirect emissions of own activities



Total CO2 emissions



  • This relates to emissions during the operating year
Generating our own sustainable energy

By 2020 we aim to generate 20% of our energy requirements by sustainable means. We are already using various sustainable energy generation methods suitable to the airport, including small-scale thermal storage in the soil and in concrete building structures. In association with Waterttransportmaatschappij Rijn-Kennemerland we are examining whether they can supply a portion of our cooling requirements using river water. Two small wind turbines were installed on the visitors terrace and preparations were made to install a thermal energy storage system on Pier G. Together with local farmers, businesses and various public authorities we are examining whether we can grow crops that are unattractive to birds and can be used as biomass. In 2013 our own energy-generation potential rose from 1.7% to 2%.

Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport installed solar panels on the roof of their airport terminals in 2013. The new hotel at Eindhoven Airport was also provided with solar cells. Rotterdam The Hague Airport insulated the outside walls of the terminal to prepare for the installation of a thermal energy storage system. Tall fescue, a grass species that generates a significant amount of energy during fermentation, was sown at Lelystad Airport.

Curbing energy consumption

2013 saw a further reduction in energy consumption in terms of electricity and natural gas, in both percentage and absolute terms, despite the protracted winter period. The trend seen is a decline in gas consumption whilst electricity consumption is on the rise. This is due in part to the electrification of the ground-handling process, where electric vehicles and fixed electrical ground power equipment are increasingly being used.

In the Multi-Year Agreement with the government (MJA3), Schiphol has committed to allowing energy consumption over the 2005-2020 period to grow by 2% less than what might be expected on the basis of passenger volumes and expansion of the real estate portfolio. This commitment applies to our own operations at the Schiphol location.

In 2012 we achieved a 5.9% energy efficiency, thanks in part to the replacement of all flight information monitors with LED screens and the renovation of the multi-storey P1 car park. A special coating of paint applied in the car park makes it possible to reduce the level of lighting. We began to install cooling lanes in our computer centres to reduce the need for cooling. Almost all climate control systems in the terminal now feature frequency control, which adjusts the volume of air to suit demand so that the systems no longer run at full capacity unnecessarily.

Electricity consumption
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (x1,000 kWh / operating year)











Natural gas consumption
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (x1,000 m3 / operating year)











CO2 benchmark

We take part in the Airport Carbon Accreditation benchmark set up by Airports Council International, an international sector association. In 2013 Eindhoven Airport achieved level 3+. This is the highest level and indicates, firstly, that Eindhoven Airport has reduced CO2 emissions at the airport and, secondly, that it has managed to compensate for the remaining emissions. Reduction and compensation are carried out in accordance with national and international agreements and mechanisms. Eindhoven Airport is the first airport in the Benelux and the world's 15th airport that has achieved this level. Schiphol is expected to be rewarded with Airport Carbon Accreditation level 3+ in March 2014.

Reduction of CO2 emissions by customers and partners

Not only do our own business activities cause CO2 emissions, so too do the activities carried out by our customers and partners, such as aircraft operations and taxi services. Schiphol does not compensate for the emissions generated by these activities. We therefore cannot affirm CO2 neutrality for the whole airport location. We do, however, aim to encourage our stakeholders who operate at the airport to take measures as well. It is through such initiatives that we aim to reach our 2020 target of reducing CO2 emissions at the airport location by 30% relative to 1990.

Biokerosine-powered flights

Operating biofuel-powered flights is one measure that airlines can take to reduce their CO2 emissions. In a joint project with KLM and SkyNRG, Schiphol is working with companies so as to achieve a breakthrough in the use of biokerosine in aviation. By kick-starting the demand for biokerosine and promoting innovation, the parties are jointly endeavouring to boost the market for this fuel. In 2013, front runner KLM operated a weekly flight from New York to Amsterdam for six months with fuel partially composed of waste deep-fryer oil.

Accessibility and air quality

Under the theme of Accessibility and air quality we seek to ensure that the airport is easily accessible and that the quality of the air at and around Schiphol is good. The focus is on clean and less road traffic to, from and at Schiphol. In this section we have only included the 'clean road traffic' measures we have put in place. The activities relating to ensuring Schiphol's accessibility are described under 'Top Connectivity': Accessibility.

The greening of our vehicle fleet

We have replaced part of our vehicle fleet with cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Twenty-seven out of the 125 cars that can be driven on natural gas are powered by natural gas. In connection with the biodiesel tests we jointly conducted with KLM, in mid-2013 we purchased 300,000 litres of biodiesel from SkyNRG for the vehicles in our vehicle fleet that cannot operate on electricity. This means that we can add 30% second-generation biodiesel for one year and reduce CO2 emissions by 24%. Around 10% of our leased vehicle fleet consists of electric cars or plug-in hybrids. Thirty-five electrically powered buses for passenger transport on the aprons have been ordered. Clean buses have been operating services between the P3 car park and the terminal since September.

Greening by customers and partners

An increasing number of electric vehicles are being used on the aprons for ground handling operations. At the end of 2013 around 30% of all ground support equipment used by KLM was electrically-powered. The target is to increase this figure to 60% in the next three years.

The Airport Traffic Ruling stipulates that fewer auxiliary power units and ground power units must be used. Both emit NOx, soot and CO2. In order to remain compliant with the statutory limit values, during the 2010-2013 period 61 aircraft stands (of a total of 93) were equipped with a fixed electrical ground power unit and a preconditioned air supply unit, rendering the use of kerosene and diesel at these aircraft stands redundant. An added benefit is that this reduces CO2 emissions as well as the noise affecting ground handlers.

We ensure that the number of electric vehicle charging points at the car parks keeps pace with the growing number of electric vehicles used in the Netherlands. These facilities are customised to suit the needs of lessees of buildings and land at Schiphol. The number of charging points at the indoor and outdoor car parks increased in 2013, and electric vehicles can now also be charged at the staff car parks. Motorists do not need to pay for the electricity they use. Measurements show that the parking spaces equipped with charging points are used quite intensively. All parking spaces are regularly occupied by all-electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. Based on consumption figures we will determine whether or not to expand the number of charging points.

Better Place, a battery exchange station used by three taxi businesses, sadly went bankrupt. We are looking at whether the building and the surrounding infrastructure can be used for other purposes.

Commodity shortages

Schiphol also fulfils its responsibility when it comes to the availability of natural resources. The depletion rate of resources will be curbed if we use them intelligently or use alternatives.

Recycling materials

Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce and energy prices continue to rise. Schiphol aims to use natural resources and other materials prudently and therefore undertakes recycling efforts. The numerous construction projects and our own waste policy afford us great opportunities to do so. Each year we replace part of the infrastructure and demolish, renovate and construct buildings. On average, 90% of the construction material used, such as concrete, asphalt, plastics, metal pipelines and cables, is recycled. We reuse the rubble remaining from the previously renovated Pier C in the construction projects that began in 2013.

Schiphol is replacing several passenger bridges that have reached the end of their useful life. The bridges are still too valuable and usable to put them through the shredder for the aluminium smelters. theGrounds has taken the initiative to examine whether they can be recycled.

Vanderlande Industries, Van Gansewinkel and Schiphol are testing baggage belts made of recycled materials. This requires special attention for fire safety, as these belts are not allowed to run under fire hatches and a steel trough has been installed under each belt to prevent fire from spreading. Additional conditions apply to cleaning the baggage belts. The tests have shown that these baggage belts consume 50% less energy than the current baggage belts. We replace and recycle baggage belt covers after one year.

Waste separation at the source

Passengers, businesses at Schiphol and our own employees produce 15,201 tonnes of waste annually. Waste is separated at the source, disposed of and recycled or converted into biofuel.

We recycled 36% of the airport's regular waste during the 2013 operating year (excluding construction and demolition waste, and water containing glycol). In 2013 the focus was on the need to improve waste separation at the source. The separate collection of food leftovers yielded 725 tonnes, compared to 540 tonnes in 2012.

Surface water quality

The quality of surface water is affected by aircraft de-icing operations and de-icing and snow clearance of runways, taxiways and aprons. We put a new, more efficient sprayer into service which de-ices with a single dosage. Fewer ice prevention and control agents enter the surface water as a result. Even though potassium formate and glycol, the ice prevention and control agents used, are biodegradable, they do extract oxygen from the water. This can lead to the death of water flora and fish. The percentage of days on which average oxygen content exceeded 3 mg/l at the three enforcement points was 91.3% in 2013.

The 2012-2013 winter season was extremely cold, recording monthly average temperatures below the multi-year average. January, February and March each recorded more than ten days of snow, which exceeds the multi-year average.

The water quality recovery plan, which is put into operation during the winter season, provides for improving water quality in the water courses and serves to prevent pollution from spreading outside the airport's boundaries. Depending on the quality of the water, which we monitor daily with a measurement system, existing measures are either intensified or reduced.