In 2016, we established a new sustainability strategy as part of our commitment to generate further value for our stakeholders.

A new strategy to deliver on our sustainability commitment

We continued to work to ensure our operations have a positive impact on our people, customers, the communities in which we operate and the environment.

We implemented a wide range of programs during the year to deliver on our strategy, and ensure Sydney Airport is a responsible business that integrates social and environmental considerations into all of its decision making.

Our strong working relationships with our stakeholders across the airport community remained a key feature of our sustainability approach, to ensure our strategy continues to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.

Safety and security

As an operational airport, safety and security has always been our first priority. In 2016, we delivered on a range of commitments to improve safety and security outcomes, leveraging technology to deliver better outcomes for our stakeholders.

Our new IOC was established during the year to bring together the management of our landside, terminal and airside operations. Co-located with key stakeholders, the IOC is providing new opportunities for collaboration in real time, improving responsiveness to new and emerging issues. New software has also been delivered as part of the IOC to improve communication with our stakeholders. This has led to increased communication on key issues throughout our day-to-day operations, building stronger links between Sydney Airport’s operations team and the broader airport workforce. These changes are delivering very real benefits to how we manage our day-to-day operations, and implement effective responses to safety and security issues that may emerge.

While the IOC is improving decision making on a day-to-day basis, our commitment to workplace health and safety (WHS) also continued during the year. All staff were required to complete a refreshed WHS induction to ensure a shared focus on WHS issues across our workforce. This was complemented by the start of the development of our WHS Risk Profile and governance strategy to improve reporting, better manage issues and analyse lag factors. This work continued post year end and it’s expected a robust, enterprise-wide WHS reporting system will be delivered in 2017, supported by targeted training for our people.

Our commitment to safety also extended beyond our direct employees, with the development of new brand marks to clearly identify safety and security messages for our stakeholders. The launch of the Safe SYD and Secure SYD marks provided dedicated brand livery for safety and security messages delivered across our airport. This has made it easier for our airport stakeholders to identify important safety and security updates relevant to them.

We’ve also continued to deliver improved security measures with the ongoing replacement works of perimeter fences. This work is expected to be completed in 2018.


Our Airport Environment Strategy 2013-2018 addresses key environmental aspects including:

  • climate change and energy management;
  • water management;
  • air quality;
  • ground based noise;
  • ground transport;
  • biodiversity and conservation;
  • heritage;
  • waste and resource management;
  • soil and land management; and
  • spills and hazardous materials.

Our cooperative and proactive approach to environmental management continued in 2016 as we worked with regulatory agencies, airport stakeholders and our business partners to reduce environmental impacts.

Managing our carbon footprint

Sydney Airport achieved Airports Council International (ACI) Level Three Airport Carbon Accreditation in 2016, working with airport business partners to manage and reduce carbon emissions. ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation is an international and industry recognised certification program designed to assess and recognise airports’ efforts to manage and reduce their carbon emissions. It is the only industry-specific, performance-based, voluntary and institutionally endorsed accreditation label designed specifically for airports.

The Level Three accreditation – entitled ‘Optimisation’ – was awarded to Sydney Airport for:

  • measuring emissions from the landing and take-off cycle, electricity usage, ground transport and staff business travel;
  • providing evidence of stakeholder engagement;
  • meeting Level One and Two accreditation requirements; and
  • showing a reduction in our carbon footprint by analysing the carbon emissions data of three consecutive years.

We achieved our target to reduce our carbon intensity by 25% on 2010 levels four years ahead of schedule in 2016. This outstanding result was supported by a concerted effort on end-of-life replacement programs. In addition, absolute carbon emissions fell by 8% since 2010, despite the significant growth of the business during this time.

Introducing sustainable transport options

About 80% of our energy use comes from heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems, lighting, baggage handling, lifts and elevators.

As part of our commitment to the environment, we’ve increased our use of solar power to provide sustainable transport options. Sydney Airport unveiled Australia’s first electric airport bus in August as part of a $5 million investment in environmentally friendly ground transport technology. A fleet of six buses was purchased during the year, to replace the airport’s existing diesel bus fleet servicing the shuttle route between the T2/T3 Domestic terminal precinct and Blu Emu Car Park.

The fleet will deliver carbon emission reductions of about 160 tonnes per year and improve local air quality through zero tailpipe emissions. The potential to source electricity to power the electric buses through solar or other green sources is currently being investigated.

The buses were just one example of electric equipment and vehicles across the airport which contributed towards reducing carbon emissions and minimising impacts to local air quality. We also installed additional charging equipment for electric ground service equipment (GSE) operating at the airport, such as tugs.

Protecting biodiversity

We continued to implement our Wetlands Enhancement Program during the year as part of our management of the Sydney Airport Wetlands. In addition to ongoing revegetation, maintenance and monitoring works, we collaborated with our stakeholders to foster a strong community connection with the wetlands area. This included key partnerships with Kids Teaching Kids and Conservation Volunteers Australia.