Massport is targeting net zero by 2031

Our focus is on areas the authority controls

CLIMATE CHANGE isn’t something that could happen in the future – it’s already here. And the effects in a maritime city like Boston and coastal state like Massachusetts are particularly acute.

When it comes to climate change, we are constantly reminded of all the things that are out of our control – whether it’s other countries building coal-fired power plants or our continued reliance on fossil fuels. At Massport, we think it’s time to focus on the things we can control – like our facilities, our equipment, how we move people. That not only helps us make progress – it sends a strong message to everyone who is watching.

At Massport, we are proud to lead on environmental stewardship. From implementing comprehensive environmental reporting in 1979 and launching one of largest airport‐run high occupancy vehicle services a decade later, to opening the first LEED-certified terminal in the world at Logan Airport and developing one of the country’s first authority-wide climate resiliency plans, our leadership on environmental sustainability is longstanding.

And the work continues, whether it is installing hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations at Logan Airport, preserving more than 30 acres of parks and green space in and around Boston, or developing an award-winning soil reclamation and reuse process at Conley Container Terminal that eliminated 5,000 truck trips throughout residential Boston and the use of an estimated 35,000 gallons of truck fuel, we take our role as an environmental steward seriously.

Large organizations like ours, however, must do more. We need to chart a path to net zero carbon emissions that eliminates emissions across all our operations in time to reverse the most dangerous effects of climate change.                   cc

How do we get there? Massport recently launched its roadmap to reach net zero emissions by 2031. That’s almost 20 years ahead of federal and state-mandated deadlines. Our plan is meaningful, ambitious and – most important of all – achievable.

We will improve energy efficiency in our facilities, invest in electric vehicles, and continue to expand our high occupancy vehicle transportation program.  Work is already underway through our current capital investment plan, and all told, we may need to invest approximately $1 billion over the next decade.  The work ahead includes building efficiency upgrades that add or expand on-site renewable energy generation, including converting HVAC systems to electric power, procuring more electric vehicles, and replacing light and heavy‐duty equipment with renewable diesel or electric models.

In the near term, we are focused on the assets we control – airport, cruise and container terminals, our fleet vehicles and equipment, and parking garages.  Our team is already tackling the single largest source of building emissions at Logan Airport, the central heating plant.

While our commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2031 is strong, with 12.5 percent of our facilities’ overall emissions actually under Massport control, we are committed to doing more. To scale this effort, we will also be strongly encouraging our business partners and vendors to do their part. This includes the sources of greenhouse gas emissions like aircraft, tenant fleet vehicles and airfield ground service equipment, hangars, passenger and employee transportation, cargo vessels, harbor craft, and cruise liners.

We will be pushing the airlines, maritime partners, and the trucking industry to reduce their carbon footprint, retrofit their facilities, and explore alternative fuels and new technologies. We will also pursue significant state and federal funding programs and private partnerships for green initiatives, including those that advance the use of sustainable aviation fuel, which could reduce aviation emissions by more than two-thirds.

Meet the Author

Lisa Wieland

Chief executive officer, Massachusetts Port Authority
Over the last four decades, Massport has led on many “firsts” when it comes to the environment. By approaching this challenge of climate change with the same creativity, urgency, and determination that we always have, we can get things done – and set a powerful example for everyone watching.

Lisa Wieland is the chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Port Authority.