ESG Q&A with Zurich Airport

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Emanuel Fleuti
Head of Sustainability & Environment
Flughafen Zürich AG

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Environmental

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What is the visibility in achieving your emissions reduction goal(s) and can you provide us with concrete examples of how you plan to get there?

For Zurich, we have published a roadmap to achieve the net-zero emission target by 2050 and this roadmap is publicly accessible on our website. Specific examples include the replacement of passenger pier A and other buildings, thus significantly reducing the heating and cooling demand. At the same time, we are expanding our electricity production through PV-systems on buildings and are exploring the feasibility to change to a large scale geothermal field for seasonal energy storage. And lastly, we are continuously replacing petrol/diesel cars and vehicles by BEVs. 

 
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What do you think investors should expect to see from companies – in terms of reporting, transparency, and accountability – when it comes to net zero targets?

You should see commitments that are in line with latest scientific evidence and requirements and should then likewise see implementable roadmaps that gives you the confidence that the companies have actually designed a pathway to net zero.

 
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You have a net zero by 2050 goal, but what are your interim milestones? What are the KPI’s we can track to monitor your progress?

We have defined interim milestones for the Zurich site for each end of the decade: 2020: 30,000 t CO2; 2030: 30,000 t, 2040: 10,000 t 2050: 0 t. The KPI is the total Scope 1 + Scope 2 CO2(e) emissions which you can find on our website and in our annual business report.

 
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Is your company’s non-financial reporting treated with the same rigour (standards, auditing etc.) as financial reporting?

As of our FY 2021, we will produce a non-financial reporting that follows the GRI standards. With regards to the environmental reporting (data), the environmental data management is part of the ISO 9000 quality system and follows those standards and auditing schemes.

 
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Do you think the reporting and management of scope 3 emissions (upstream and downstream) is becoming an inevitable reality for global listed infrastructure companies? If so, what is your company’s plan to manage them?

We consider Scope 3 emissions as important side information, but not crucial in our field of business. There is no strict definition on how far Scope 3 emissions are attributable to our business. Given that our Scope 3 emissions are somebody else’s Scope 1 emission under their responsibility we have to exercise caution as not to interfere and start managing them. However, we support the decarbonization of our partners, mostly through our expertise.

 
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Biodiversity is an emerging ESG theme. Do you think global listed infrastructure companies have a role to play in protecting and enhancing biodiversity? If so, how if your company achieving this?

Biodiversity is actually one of our five priority topics in environment protection and we strongly work on protecting and enhancing our biodiversity. This is backed by a maintenance department of its own with the required expertise, staff and equipment to maintain our greenfield sits. More information is available with a special brochure on our website.

 

Social

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Some companies are resetting DE&I goals. How have the goals changed, and how are they measured? What operational changes have been made to support achieving the new goals? How are management and Board engaged in DE&I?

We actually don’t see a need to set any goals or change operations. DE&I is very open in our culture and we accept any qualified work force, irrespective of gender, ethnic or other personal circumstances. 

 
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What is the most important component of the “Social” part of ESG to you and how do you plan to enforce or strengthen it? 

While there is likely no “most important”, we do put a very strong emphasis on the safety of staff, customers, passengers and the whole aviation operations on our premises. This is supported on a continuous basis by our SMS (Safety Management System, geared towards all of the aviation operations), our PRM programs (passengers with reduced mobility), our OHAS programs (occupational health and safety) and our constructional safety and fire protection systems. 

 

Governance

 
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Does your company actively monitor (at the Board and executive level) any gender pay gaps in like-for like positions? What is your strategy for addressing any gaps? 

The company considers the principle of equal pay for work of equal value to be central. For the Zurich location, the wage differences between men and women were periodically compared in the past. The calculated wage difference was around 2% to the disadvantage of the women, with the total wage being compared without bonuses. If the allowances for particularly annoying, dirty or noisy activities were also taken into account, the difference would be greater because predominantly men are employed in the occupations confronted with them. The federal level of tolerance is at 5%. 

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Do you or do you plan to have a specifically designated ESG committee on the BoD?

We have a designated ESG committee on a company work level with an accountable ESG manager.