Edinburgh Airport CAs join race to net zero
Graeme Gibson CA, Steven Naismith CA, Yvonne Curran CA, Andy Donnelly CA, Laura Wilson (CA Student) have joined ICAS, Chartered Accountants Ireland and ICAEW’s campaign 1000 Chartered Accountants and are helping Edinburgh Airport towards their net zero target.
The 1,000 Chartered Accountants campaign is the first joint initiative of the three professional accountancy bodies in Ireland and the United Kingdom. We want to promote and support 1,000 Chartered Accountants who have committed - or want to commit - to begin their journey to net-zero carbon emissions, or who have been an active voice in decarbonising the economy.
Edinburgh Airport has made substantial progress over the last 12 months in developing and communicating its sustainability strategy. The launch of the strategy in June - with a meaningful net zero commitment and an announcement of significant investment in an on-site solar farm - is the most significant step the airport has ever taken in this area and will cement its position as a sector leader.
Graeme Gibson, Finance Director, said: “Sustainability is hugely important to Edinburgh Airport. We are proud of our contribution to economic growth, employment and international connectivity but we know the environmental costs of air travel.
“We launched our sustainability strategy in June 2021 to provide meaningful commitments and targets across four pillars: (1) zero carbon; (2) enhancing Scotland; (3) Scotland’s best business; and (4) trusted neighbour.
“The airport has already made significant progress in reducing emissions and is carbon neutral in scope one and scope two. Moreover, we have a long-standing track record of success in managing and mitigating risks associated with noise, water quality, waste management, community relations and employee development.”
The Finance team has been instrumental to this exercise and has led from the front in embedding the strategy in the airport’s activities. Their focus is on injecting rigour and discipline into decision making and driving improvement across a suite of performance measures.
I would encourage my fellow CAs to seize the initiative and help their businesses grasp this challenge
The team’s key achievements over 2020/21 include the introduction of a comprehensive 'shadow carbon pricing' methodology in 2020 to incentivise reductions in emissions and leading the process to issue an innovative £100m Sustainability-Linked Loan in 2021 where pricing is linked to performance across a basket of carbon reduction KPIs.
Furthermore, the team has also identified a suite of sustainability metrics and KPIs, revised the capital investment approval process to explicitly capture an assessment of carbon emissions and commenced a supply chain review to ensure that sustainability matters are fully embedded. The team are now also currently preparing their 2021 Annual Report & Accounts to include voluntary adoption of the recommendations made by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Edinburgh Airport is committed to our new sustainability strategy. It is vitally important that our Finance team is at the centre of our efforts to fully embed sustainability in everything we do. I’ve been impressed with the energy displayed by the team and can clearly see the value of their contribution.”
Graeme Gibson CA, Finance Director, said: “We are proud that our work on sustainability is being recognised by ICAS. Our team is hugely passionate about helping the airport transition to a low carbon economy. There is no other option. We have achieved a lot in a short space of time but we fully recognise there is much more to do. I would encourage my fellow CAs to seize the initiative and help their businesses grasp this challenge.”
Steven Naismith CA, Senior Corporate Finance Manager, said: “The Finance mindset makes us uniquely positioned to play a crucial role in tackling sustainability challenges. Identifying, measuring and reporting on data is the Finance team’s bread and butter – these same skills are key to making progress on sustainability. Extending the same discipline and rigour that we already apply to financial performance gives finance a mandate to co-lead the sustainability agenda.”
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