Transforming our environment

We proactively assess and manage the environmental impact of our operations in line with our integrated transformation and sustainability objectives. While our impact on the environment was considerably lower during the COVID-19 pandemic, this is directly related to operational activities and, as they pick up pace again, so does our impact.

We are nevertheless deeply committed to managing our environmental impact and have best-practice strategies, policies, processes, and procedures in place to do so. Ongoing engagements are held with the relevant regulators to ensure that ACSA remains compliant with its obligations regarding environmental monitoring and reporting.

ISO 14001:2015

The certification audits for all nine airports took place during the reporting period. All met the requirements of the ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System Standard and were duly certified. Audits will continue in line with the usual certification cycle.

Legislation and compliance

In terms of compliance, we have contracted environmental legal consultants to assist with the development and implementation of site-specific environmental legal registers, which take into account primary, secondary, and tertiary legislation in all spheres of government. These registers will provide each airport with the legal requirements pertinent for their location and context, as well as with formal means for tracking compliance.

Key environmental staff

The ongoing impact of the voluntary separation and early retirement packages that were offered during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt. There have, however, been significant improvements in the competency of the incumbents who have had to take on additional work within the environmental management system.

Airport carbon accreditation

O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg, King Shaka International in Durban, Chief Dawid Stuurman International in Gqeberha and Cape Town International all maintained their Level 2 Airport Carbon Accreditation throughout the reporting period. Level 2 accreditation is only awarded if an airport is able to demonstrate emissions reductions for the accreditation period when compared to the rolling average over the previous three years.

As recovery gains ground, we will investigate the feasibility of expanding this programme to the remaining airports in our portfolio.

Emissions reporting and carbon tax

We also continue to report on the emissions produced by our standby generators as per the requirements of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (No. 39 of 2004) and consequently file for carbon tax in our annual disclosures to the South African Revenue Service.

Roadmap to carbon neutrality

The constraints on capital expenditure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in us having to adjust the timing of the projects that make up our Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality. While the initial goal of achieving carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions at all of our nine airports by 2030 has not changed, the timing of the projects required to reach this goal has been amended, with most energy-reduction projects having been moved into the 2027 to 2030 timeframe.

At present, our focus is on the production of renewable energy, and the optimisation of energy efficiency. This contributes not only to the process of becoming Carbon Neutral but it also reduces ACSA’s dependency on the national grid.

The further projects to reduce our carbon footprint are tied to traffic volumes, and these will be implemented in line with the sector recovery.

Noise management

As in the previous period, the number of noise complaints received at all nine airports during the reporting period was very low, numbering only five in total. These were recorded at King Shaka International, O.R. Tambo International and Cape Town International. The low number of complaints is evidence of the successful implementation of noise abatement measures at all of our airports.

Bird strikes

The number of bird strikes reported during the period was 254 (FY2021/22: 195), only four of which caused damage to aircraft. The increase in the number of strikes should be seen in relation to the progressive recovery to normal business operations and the increase in passenger traffic. We have comprehensive and humane bird strike management procedures in place at all of our airports.

Environmental incidents

The were no environmental incidents during the reporting period.

Key environmental metrics
Metric FY21/22 FY22/23  
Total Electrical
162 448 271 KWh 189 878 771 KWh With the increases in passenger numbers and flights during the financial year there was an increase in the electrical consumption for the Group.
Total Water
40 655 406 Kl 1 658 492 Kl In the previous financial year there were bulk water breakdowns that accounted for very high water consumption. These were rectified and the current financial year indicates more regular water consumption.
Total Waste
to Landfill
3 815 368 Kg 5 914 446 Kg With the increase in passenger numbers, flights, and activities at the airports, more waste was generated.
Total Waste
943 567 Kg 1 804 315 Kg In accordance with the increase in waste there was a doubling of the amount of recycling undertaken.