The future of the travel & tourism industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with environmental, social and governance (ESG) being one of the themes that will have a significant impact on airport companies. 

According to GlobalData’s Q3 2021 Consumer Survey, 56% of global respondents stated they ‘somewhat’ or ‘completely’ agree that they are more loyal to brands that support green and environmental matters, and 54% echo this sentiment for brands that are loyal to human and social rights matters. These strong percentages suggest that companies with transparent ESG strategies, which can demonstrate positive work to address environmental and social issues, could win the loyalty of travellers that may be undecided on which company to use for a specific aspect of their trip. Transparency on ESG matters will not only appease consumers; it is now required by several other stakeholders and potential future ones. Investors will often assess a company’s ESG performance when conducting due diligence. Therefore, many company directors are allocating increasing amounts of capital and resources to address ESG aspects and increase attractiveness. According to a GlobalData poll (ended October 19, 2021, with 1,500 responses), 78.7% of respondents stated that their company now monitors ESG performance directly alongside financial performance. 

However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.  

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According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, ESG in Travel & Tourism, leading adopters include: Dubai Airports Company, Royal Schiphol Group, Groupe ADP, Malaysia Airports, Sydney Airport Holdings and VNCI. 

Insights from top ranked companies  

Royal Schiphol Group 

Royal Schiphol is an airport company that offers airport services to domestic and international airways. The company provides aviation, consumer products and services, real estate, alliances, and participation services. It aims to operate the most sustainable airports in the world and be a circular and energy-positive company by 2050. It will run entirely on sustainable solar, wind, and thermal energy. Schiphol will generate more energy than it will use, and the surplus will go to other consumers. By 2050, it will only have electric vehicles, from scissor lifts to hotel shuttles. Aircraft will taxi to the runways sustainably by using electric tugs, and all buildings will be built in a circular fashion. Schiphol has two intermediate targets for 2030, to be zero-waste and emission-free. 

Groupe ADP 

Groupe ADP, formerly Aéroports de Paris, is the airport authority that owns and manages the fourteen civil airports and airfields in the Paris area. Groupe ADP develops its internal policies in accordance with human rights and the fundamental rights defined by the ILO. Since 2003, Groupe ADP has been a signatory of the UN Global Compact. Since 2010, Paris-Orly Airport has experienced 40% of its heating requirements covered by the installation of a geothermal power plant. It reduces CO2 emissions by 9,000 tonnes every year. Ultimately, the terminals’ heating requirements will be fully met in this way. Additionally, in 2013, Paris Aéroport installed a solar power plant that supplies all the energy requirements of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Environmental and Sustainable Development Resource Centre. 

Vinci 

Vinci Airports is a French operator and manager of airports. Vinci states it was the first airport operator in 2016 to adopt an international environmental strategy in order to reach net-zero emissions for its entire network by 2050. At Lyon airports, it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2026. In June 2021, it inaugurated its first carbon sink. The group introduced a local reforestation programme aiming to restore, reforest and maintain a 3.6-hectare plot of forest. It aims to sequester a total of 500 tonnes of residual CO2 emissions. Following the successful implementation of this reforestation programme, it plans to launch its next carbon sinks capitalising on forestry potential. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel and tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG in Travel & Tourism

  • Shenzhen Airport Company Ltd
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Los Angeles World Airports
  • Shanghai International Airport
  • GMR Group
  • Beijing Capital International Airport
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
  • AENA

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article. 

GlobalData’s Thematic Scorecard ranks companies within a sector based on their overall leadership in the 10 themes that matter most to their industry, generating a leading indicator of their future earnings and relative position within key strategic areas.