Sustainability at the MAC
The vision of our sustainability program is to
infuse sustainability into everything we do.
Integrating sustainability into each aspect of our operations allows us to continuously adapt to and address our social, environmental, and economic opportunities and challenges.
For us, sustainability is the positive approach to organizational management that recognizes the social, environmental, and economic impacts of decision-making and their importance to the wellbeing of our airports system, now and into the future.
By effectively considering the interdependence of these three factors when making decisions, we strive to promote positive social engagement, protect the environment, and ensure prosperity today and for future generations.
Through our planning process, we developed our sustainability vision, three themes, and the supporting sub-themes that make up our sustainability strategy framework.
Explore each of our themes!
Over Three Decades of Sustainability Investments
The Sustainability Management Plan
While the Sustainability Management Plan is the formalization of our efforts, we have invested in the creation of a sustainable business for many years. The timeline above shows some of our proudest moments over the years in investing in social, environmental, and economic sustainability.
We began our work toward formalizing sustainability in 2013 with our application to and acceptance by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Sustainability Management Plan program. Designed by the FAA, this program encourages airports of all sizes to develop plans and formally integrate sustainability into their operations.
We received a grant to develop a formal plan for our organization and for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), resulting in our first wide-reaching strategy built on past successes and a new vision to join other leading airports in defining sustainability leadership for our industry. We invested in a collaborative strategy planning methodology that incorporated leadership from various levels of our organization and representation from every division, department, and sub-department.
We believe this inclusive approach added significant value to our final strategy and future vision for a sustainable MAC, and will drive great learnings for our entire airports system in the future. Our goal is for the strategy framework to last our organization many years into the future, while we evolve our projects and investments every year, creating a long-term, positive impact.
Sustainability Management Plan Process
Our chief operating officer, who reports to the chief executive officer, is our internal executive champion for sustainability. He provides strategic guidance and top line decision-making, and sets the organization’s ambition, for sustainability. The Sustainability and Strategy Department reports to the COO, manages the sustainability program, facilitates implementation of sustainability initiatives, and measures our success on achieving our sustainability goals.
The Executive Management Team consists of members of senior leadership, select directors, and one commissioner. This group’s role is to provide overarching policy guidance and interim approvals for the sustainability strategy.
The strategic thinking, formation of content, department and sub-department input, and implementation of the plan is managed through the Sustainability Steering Committee, broken down into three Theme Teams. Each team is dedicated to one of the three sustainability themes, with leaders for each of the sub-themes. These co-leads shape the content, prioritize work, and identify efforts that will have the greatest positive impact.
Employees from across various departments lead, formally and informally, the three Theme Teams. These leaders have become our sustainability champions for their areas during the planning phase. Through participation, each Theme Team member deepens her or his knowledge base and collaborates on shared solutions.
Engaging our Stakeholders in Sustainability Planning
With our program’s vision to infuse sustainability into everything we do, we solicited ideas from all of our employees and our stakeholder groups. We kicked off our internal engagement with a “Sustainability 101” and discussion session hosted by the COO along with the Sustainability Team. We met with every single department to share our plans with staff and to gather their input early in the planning process.
Following these insightful sessions, we invited all of our employees to join us in an online brainstorm launched by our three division vice presidents. Employees were invited to submit their ideas – big and small – relative to each of our material topics. We received over 500 unique ideas and comments, resulting in a wealth of project ideas that were evaluated for their potential to deliver on our sustainability vision and the goals of the themes.
The criteria we used to evaluate these ideas included applicability to our sustainability themes, risks mitigated, value created, implementation capability, internal alignment, and positive stakeholder impact. These criteria will continue to aid and inform internal decision-making moving forward. We also solicited feedback through the Theme Teams and department heads internally.
Externally, we have increased our engagement in the sustainability conversation both within aviation and at a more local level. We hosted three idea generation sessions with external stakeholders that represented various areas of expertise within our material topics. These sessions produced over 100 project ideas and provided the foundation for building long-term relationships with a number of local sustainability leaders.
We will continue to work hard to develop a sustainability program that encourages participation throughout the organization and promotes and supports initiatives that help achieve our long-term sustainability goals.