The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), is committed to sustainability and enhancing its economic viability, operational effectiveness, environment, and social responsibility. It recognizes the interconnectedness of these elements and strives to make decisions that will result in the greatest benefits today, and for centuries to come.
Building on its history of environmental sustainability efforts, the MAC was awarded a grant in 2013 to develop an organization-wide sustainability management plan.
In 2019, MAC undertook an assessment to refresh its alignment and integration of sustainability within the organization. Upon completion of this assessment in early 2020, the MAC board adopted 2030 sustainability goals in the areas of emissions, water, waste, and engagement. These goals will be one lens among others through which the organization views future strategic planning and decision-making.
The MAC is motivated by its commitment to make decisions that provide the best outcomes today and into the future. As it strives to achieve its sustainability goals, the organization will look – as it has throughout its history – to the ingenuity of its employees as well as advancements in relevant industries for solutions that lead to success.
2030 Sustainability Goals
Reducing emissions by 80% by 2030. Through strategies such as energy conservation and renewable power, the MAC has already achieved reductions in its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from a 2014/15 baseline. Click here for more information and to view progress on this goal.
Reducing water use per passenger by 15% by 2030. Airports rely on water in daily operations, and MSP is no exception. Click here to learn how the MAC is reducing consumption at MSP from a 2015 baseline and to view progress on this goal.
Reducing, reusing, recycling, or composting 75% of solid waste by 2030. The MAC has long been committed to reducing waste at MSP, from launching in-terminal recycling in 1997 to collecting organic material for composting beginning in 2009. Click here for information on some of the strategies the MAC has pursued and to view progress from a 2015 baseline on this goal.
Involving MAC employees on sustainability and achieving an engagement score of 85 by 2030. MAC employees understand the importance of sustainability in operating MSP. In a 2019 baseline survey, they said a sustainable approach matters because it lessens environmental impact and it’s the right thing to do. Click here to view progress on this goal.
A History of Environmental Sustainability
For decades before establishing its 2030 sustainability goals, the MAC implemented environmental sustainability strategies even as it balanced fiscal, operational and social factors. The organization will continue to identify and engage in opportunities that may not contribute directly to the achievement of the goals but will provide positive environmental benefits. Read on for highlights of some of what the MAC has done.
Optimized Profile Descents
In 2015, Area Navigation (RNAV)/Required Navigation Performance (RNP) arrival procedures were implemented at MSP, including Optimized Profile Descents (OPD). During such descents aircraft sustain near-idle power settings for longer periods during their approach into MSP, reducing fuel burn and associated greenhouse gas emissions. The MAC led the effort to quantify the environmental benefits of OPD. Using data from airlines, the MAC found that 79 percent of aircraft utilize OPD into MSP, resulting in an estimated savings of 2.9 million gallons of fuel, and 28,465 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Airports Council International-North America recognized the MAC with the Environmental Achievement Award in the Special/Innovative Category in 2017 for this work.
Stormwater Management and Monitoring
In 1993, the MAC began what would become one of the most extensive airport glycol recovery programs in the country by installing plug-and-pump (PnP) locations around MSP’s Terminal 1. This system allows aircraft deicing runoff to be captured and removed from the stormwater system. The system has evolved over the years, increasing the number of PnP locations. In 1998, the MAC built the first dedicated deicing pad at MSP; the fifth and final pad came online in 2005. These deicing pads centralize deicing activity and are designed to capture spent deicing fluid that runs off the aircraft. The pads also include snow melters that allow glycol-impacted snow to be melted and contained within the system. The recovered deicing fluid is transferred to MSP’s Glycol Management Facility, which the MAC completed in 2004. The captured deicing fluid is either sent for treatment or recycled for use in other commercial and consumer applications.
In addition to the investments in the glycol recovery program, the MAC has constructed stormwater ponds for all three of MSP’s primary drainage areas. The stormwater ponds provide safeguards against the unwanted discharge of floating debris or fuel spills should stormwater impacts be encountered, and reduce suspended solids discharge. The MAC maintains one of the nation’s most robust stormwater monitoring programs to help monitor the performance of its stormwater management components. In all, the MAC has invested more than $150 million in deicing fluid collection and stormwater management systems at MSP.
Industry Standard-Setting Noise Mitigation Program
For over two decades, the MAC has administered one of the most advanced residential noise mitigation programs in the world for communities surrounding MSP. Since 1992, the MAC has spent approximately $482.9 million on noise mitigation programs. This includes insulating over 15,100 single-family homes, 3,300 multi-family units, and 18 schools, and acquiring over 400 residential properties affected by MSP aircraft activity.
The MAC develops and publishes annual noise contours for MSP by March 1 of each year as required by a Noise Litigation Consent Decree. These annual noise contours reflect actual noise exposure from MSP activity during the previous year and are used to establish mitigation eligibility for residential areas surrounding MSP. As required by the Consent Decree, the MAC will mitigate homes in areas beyond an established federal standard, until the year 2024.
Additionally, the MAC has a long history – dating back to the late 1960s – of working with community stakeholders, airport users, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other government entities to address aircraft noise issues. The MAC's ongoing commitment to minimizing aircraft noise impacts at MSP includes establishing the MSP Noise Oversight Committee in 2002. Comprised of community representatives and aviation industry representatives, the Committee provides policy recommendations around noise-related issues to the MAC. In addition, the MAC developed and monitors 12 noise abatement procedures, and maintains a dedicated staff who are responsive to concerns expressed by community members and who host several public outreach efforts.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report
The MAC voluntarily publishes a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Report, which reports the GHG emissions footprint for MSP as a whole. MAC-owned and –controlled sources contribute 12 percent to the total MSP carbon footprint. The largest source of GHG emissions at MSP is aircraft landing and takeoff operations.
The MAC engages with local, regional, national, and global partners to drive sustainability forward, at the airport and beyond. Partnership examples include the University of Minnesota, Sustainable Growth Coalition, MBOLD, Airports Going Green, and Airports Council International.