Building a partnership for sustainability with Heathrow airport

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At Vanderlande, we are committed to delivering sustainable solutions in every aspect of our operations. We do not want to do this alone, which is why we seek collaboration with our suppliers and customers to maximise the impact of our efforts throughout the value chain. Heathrow Airport is one of our key customers that we are actively working with. Our strategic partnership signed in 2019 provides a solid platform for long-term collaboration on important topics like sustainability.

Author

Chris Ray

UK Branch Director Airport and Parcel Solutions

Our company fully supports the goals laid out in “Heathrow 2.0: Connecting People and Planet” and there is certainly a lot of overlap between the sustainability ambitions of both our organisations.

We have established KPIs, and set targets to make our strategy more tangible, and to enable us to measure progress in reaching our goals. The targets make it easier to communicate and align our activities with our customers, suppliers, employees and the wider world.

Measuring our efforts

Heathrow has introduced a balanced scorecard approach to record the progress of its suppliers on sustainability. Vanderlande is committed to achieving gold standards in all areas related to the scorecard by 2030. We are currently working with Heathrow to agree the baseline and scope of the balanced scorecard measures, which will help us align our actions with the airport’s requirements. For example, to meet Heathrow’s gold standard of having 100% of airside vehicles electrified or using bio-fuel, Vanderlande is preparing to replace all of its airside vehicles with zero-emission alternatives at end of lease.

We are part of a process of co-creation on the scorecard along with Heathrow’s sustainability team, and we have already had many constructive discussions. The team is taking onboard our input, and that of other partners, and will revise measures where appropriate. While we baseline against the scorecard, there’s plenty of practical progress to report on.

Practical progress

In line with the scorecard targets we have, for example, replaced 100% of the lighting in our London offices with LED lights to save energy. This measure will deliver a return on investment in just eight months, which shows that sustainability is also good business. In addition, Vanderlande ensures that its UK offices are supplied with renewable energy.

Another example of our focus on sustainability in the Heathrow operation is being realised by our Terminal 2 Maintenance team, which is fitting energy efficient belts on an existing conveyor line. This has halved the average running current, resulting in a 7% energy reduction per conveyor (October 2022), which supports Heathrow’s net carbon commitment.

Moving forward, we will be looking at how we design, build, operate and maintain, as well as dispose of our end-to-end baggage process. This will ensure that we consider issues relating to sustainability, as well as operational and financial performance.

A strong foundation

At the moment, we’re building a strong foundation with the airport to ensure that the measures and commitments we make are achievable. Vanderlande’s global sustainability team is making a valuable contribution to the process, and some of the pilot work we have completed demonstrates what we can achieve together, such as conducting an airport life-cycle assessment.

When it comes to sustainability, there’s no doubt that close collaboration is enriching discussions and allowing both companies to learn from each other and align activities that support each other’s sustainability goals. The experience of working together will also help us to frame and focus our work with other customers and suppliers.

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