EAASI webinar addresses carbon footprint in aerial surveys

EAASI webinar addresses carbon footprint in aerial surveys

The European Association of Aerial Surveying Industries (EAASI) organized a webinar on 'Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Aerial Surveying' on 26 May 2023. This virtual event brought together industry experts and professionals to exchange experiences and discuss the implementation of sustainable practices in the field of aerial surveying.

The webinar aimed to raise awareness about the environmental impact of aerial surveying businesses, offer valuable insights and strategies to minimize their carbon footprint, and explore the potential impact of upcoming policies on the industry. The event featured three specialists who shared their expertise and experiences, inspiring attendees to embark on a sustainable journey within the aerial surveying sector.

Electric vehicles

Rainer Krammer, project manager at AVT Group, presented a compelling case study of their medium-sized aerial surveying company's journey towards carbon neutrality. AVT Group conducted a thorough evaluation of its carbon footprint, considering Scope 1, 2 and 3 of emissions.

The evaluation revealed a fascinating insight. Although the company knew in advance that the main source of GHG emissions was its air fleet, it did not expect that a significant percentage would be produced by the commuting of its employees. Most of their offices are located in rural areas and employees drive to work.  

To address this issue effectively, AVT Group implemented a range of measures. These included the general measures to reduce GHG emissions such as the installation of photovoltaic systems at their headquarters, transitioning to electric vehicles, etc. but also some specific measures targeted at employees: providing financial support to purchase electric bikes and offering free public transport tickets. After their reduction efforts, remaining GHG emissions were offset by the purchase and retirement of carbon credits. AVT Group has been a carbon-neutral company since 2021.

View from the cockpit of an AVT Airborne Sensing aircraft during a mapping mission. (Image courtesy: AVT Group)

Decarbonizing aerial survey operations

Pooja Mahapatra, global lead for geospatial climate at Fugro, shared Fugro's commitment to achieving net-zero emission operations by 2035, specifically targeting Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Fugro has taken a formal stance on establishing science-based targets to achieve absolute emissions reduction. While their primary focus has been on decarbonizing vessel operations, Fugro has successfully applied the lessons learned to other areas, including aerial surveying.

Fugro proposes strategies to decarbonize aerial survey operations, including optimizing flight planning, investing in energy-efficient aircraft and sensors, using sustainable fuels, exploring alternate technologies, promoting data efficiency, and offsetting emissions. They aim to drive sustainability within the organization, collaborate with industry players, and stay updated on advancements in aviation.

Roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions

Alejandro de Juanes, climate change project manager at Trinoa and an expert in carbon emission compensation for companies, emphasizes the importance of embracing sustainability. This alignment with global efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, enhances operational efficiency, meets growing demands from clients, and ensures compliance with evolving non-financial information disclosure regulations. Sustainable practices not only reduce environmental impact but also have implications for financial access. De Juanes shares a roadmap for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, emphasizing the key steps of measuring carbon footprint, setting targets, implementing emission reduction strategies, and offsetting remaining emissions. He encourages companies to promptly embark on their sustainability journey, emphasizing that early action facilitates smoother transitions.

The webinar showcased the commitment of the European Union and the aerial surveying industry in leading the global fight against climate change. The event emphasized the importance of collaboration, education and innovation in driving positive change within the industry.

By organizing events like this webinar, EAASI aims to foster a community of like-minded professionals, facilitate knowledge sharing, and inspire collective action toward a greener future. As the industry continues to evolve, EAASI will continue to serve as a platform for collaboration and progress in sustainable aerial surveying practices.

Watch the full webinar below.

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