Our Airport

The lower
the impact

As we respond to all the ways the world is changing, we never lose sight of the environmental changes that are clouding the future. Across Toronto Pearson, we’re working together to save energy, use water wisely, better manage waste and fulfill our commitment as an airport that’s here to serve not only people, but the planet.

32 public EV charging stations are now available at convenient points around Toronto Pearson for passengers, employees and community members who drive electric vehicles.

Plug-in Energy Savings

In March 2017, we activated 32 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at Toronto Pearson, including in the parking garages of both terminals and in a cellphone lot for people waiting to pick up arriving passengers. Supported by $2.6 million in funding through the provincial Ministry of Transportation, it’s one of the largest single installations in a major energy-saving program sponsored by the Government of Ontario. The chargers, which are available for free and include 10 high-speed Level 3 units, have also been placed in the GTAA administration building parking lot to support energy-conscious drivers. The public-facing initiative complements an even more extensive network of about 80 chargers already in use by electric baggage tugs and other service vehicles on the airside of Toronto Pearson operations.

This is just the latest of many collaborations between the GTAA and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) – our co-founders, in 2008, of Partners in Project Green, a business-led community dedicated to creating the world’s largest sustainability-focused industrial and commercial zone around Toronto Pearson. Reinforcing the partnership’s commitment to enhancing energy performance, the EV charger initiative has many dimensions of impact, including:

  • encouraging more community members to use electric vehicles
  • making local roads and neighbourhoods healthier
  • helping people save on fuel, operating and maintenance costs
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • contributing to Ontario’s long-term Climate Change Strategy.
With the support of the Ontario government, we have completed one of the province's largest installations of electric vehicle charging stations to help serve energy-conscious passengers.
An electric vehicle charger at Toronto Pearson

Doing our Part on Climate

While our continued growth adds to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we’re making strong inroads. We’ve reduced our GHG emissions by 54 per cent from 2006 levels, well ahead of our goal of a 20 per cent reduction by 2020.

Switching to energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting has been a big part of our success so far. In 2017, we completed LED lighting conversions in all baggage areas, replacing about 12,000 lights this past year alone. We installed LED lighting, with controls that adjust to the time of day, in the tunnels that connect our airport’s infield and terminal spaces. We also installed 10,000 new LED tubes in all non-passenger-facing areas of Terminal 1, a change that increases brightness by 20 per cent while using 30 per cent less energy. In total, our 2017 lighting projects will save about five million kilowatt-hours per year – enough energy to power 500 Ontario homes.

Also in Terminal 1, our energy conservation team completed a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) optimization project that puts air quality monitoring sensors closer to passengers and employees to keep them more comfortable. This simple change also helps control the amount of heating and cooling needed and reduces GHG emissions by about 1,100 tonnes per year – that’s equivalent to 2,547 barrels of oil consumed.

An example of lower-impact lighting at Toronto Pearson
Toronto Pearson's energy conservation team is working to reduce GHG emissions – through LED light installations, HVAC optimizations and other inroads.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

GHGs represent a significant environmental impact for the airport industry. At the GTAA, we’ve already exceeded our corporate target of a 20 per cent reduction by 2020 (compared to the 2006 base year), and our aim is to raise the bar further. As part of our commitment to reducing environmental impacts, we’ve aligned our reporting standards to include ISO 14064, as well as the Province of Ontario’s new cap and trade program and the internationally recognized Airport Carbon Accreditation program (in which the GTAA has achieved Level 3 certification). To align all three standards, for this year’s annual report we’ve expanded our reporting boundary beyond Toronto Pearson’s core operations to include emissions from the production and sale of electricity.

A graph showing Toronto Pearson's CO2e emissions in tonnes from 2015 to 2017
Through our Green Commuter Rebate Program, GTAA employees can receive a monthly rebate if they carpool, walk, cycle or use transit at least 70 per cent of the time.
Two smiling people carpooling together

Smart Commute’s 2017 Employer of the Year

In recognition of our efforts to lower GHG emissions, the GTAA was honoured to be named Smart Commute’s 2017 Employer of the Year for Peel Region. We joined Smart Commute when it started in 2007 as a way to ease congestion in the Airport Employment Zone, free up airport parking spots and reduce GHG emissions. To set an example as a responsible organization, we established an ambitious target of having 30 per cent of our employees commuting via transit by 2035.

While progress had been good, we gave it a boost in 2017 by introducing the Green Commuter Rebate Program. The program offers staff a $50 rebate for each month they carpool, walk, cycle or use transit to and from work at least 70 per cent of the time. The response was fantastic. By year-end, there were 223 participants, resulting in reductions of more than 321,000 kilometres of vehicle travel and 41,000 kilograms of GHG emissions.

Level 3 Carbon Rating In 2017, Toronto Pearson was re-certified at Level 3 in the Airport Carbon Accreditation program managed by Airports Council International. The step up to Level 4 requires carbon neutrality, which is a goal we hope to eventually achieve. (Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is currently the only carbon-neutral airport in North America.)

71% waste diversion GTAA-wide waste diversion rate was 71 per cent in 2017 – three percentage points lower than in 2016.

1,338 pounds of honey That’s how much Toronto Pearson’s honeybee apiary harvested from its 18 hives in 2017. Our YYbeeZ program, which operates along a trail near the Etobicoke stormwater facility, helps support food security and sustainable agriculture in areas near our airport.

10,551,484 litres The volume of glycol-based deicing fluid collected for recycling after being sprayed on aircraft in 2017.

Our Drive to Zero Waste

Each year, our drive to zero waste gets us involved in new and different projects. For example, we’re now identifying used furniture and windows to give to Habitat for Humanity. Through Partners in Project Green, we participate in an online platform that facilitates the exchange of materials between organizations like ours and service providers as a way of diverting resources from landfill. Instead of disposing of damaged lighting, we’re having it refurbished.

We even have a program for recycling old cellphones that’s aimed at saving gorillas’ natural habitats in Central Africa. The Toronto Zoo’s Phone Apes program collects old cellphones for use in the manufacture of new phones, as a way to reduce mining for coltan, a mineral used in cellphones that is sourced from African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are Phone Apes recycling bins in four facilities at the GTAA.

Our GTAA-wide waste diversion rate was 71 per cent in 2017 – three percentage points lower than in 2016. We believe the difference was largely the result of poor diversion from public parking areas.

It’s important to note that waste from inbound international aircraft is not included in our diversion processes. This type of waste is incinerated, in keeping with federal government regulations aimed at protecting and preventing the spread of disease and other threats to Canadian plants, wildlife and agribusiness.

A Decade of Going Green

In 2017, Partners in Project Green entered its 10th year of cooperative efforts in support of the pioneering Pearson Eco-Business Zone. Co-founded by the GTAA and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the initiative brings together like-minded local businesses to talk about sustainability issues, share creative ideas and success stories, and collaborate on green business initiatives that create tangible value. Members devote time and resources to programs they find meaningful in four key areas: energy management, employee engagement, waste management and water stewardship.

Over the past year, partners came together in more than a dozen programs and initiatives that had concrete impact, including diversion of landfill waste, reduction in energy use, tree planting, activating electric vehicle stations, and process water and wastewater offsets.

To celebrate 10 years of achievement, in 2018 Partners in Project Green will be running a campaign showcasing various actions taken by community businesses to build a green economy in the GTA.

You can learn more at partnersinprojectgreen.com.

A celebratory logo marking 10 years of collaboration between the GTAA and Partners in Project Green

The cooler the experience

Smarter security screening. Reimagined baggage systems. Innovative retail and dining options. Our top-quality airport experience is built on collaboration, sustainable choices and human-centred design.