Sustainability initiatives take off at Edmonton Airports!

On November 4th and 5th I, along with my colleague Pong Leung, had the pleasure of delivering a 1.5-day workshop with 20 staff from Edmonton Airports. After a few months of work on high level strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and research into best practices of leaders in sustainability in the airport industry, this workshop was the transition towards the creation of a ‘sustainability road map for Edmonton Airports’ ongoing sustainability initiative.

Participants had taken our Sustainability 101 online course prior to the workshop. The first half day started with a recap on the Natural Step framework which was followed by a “sustainability café” (see for more details) to discuss questions such as “what is Edmonton Airports’ role in the world?” This was a very good way for people to discuss general questions around sustainability before diving into more specific brainstorming sessions. We finished the day with exercises to help create a ‘vision of success for a sustainable Edmonton Airports’ and draft a set of sustainability goals. The energy in the room was very high during this exercise. People were very excited to identify the characteristics of their company 25 years from now; at the end of this exercise, some people took some strategic goals in order to refine the wording for the next morning.

The second day started with an open discussion on the strategic sustainability goals statements in order to reach consensus on the goals. Participants then used these goals to look at the current reality of the Airport and complete a force field analysis by answering the following question: what are the “helping” and “hindering” forces that may impact our ability to achieve these goals? This brainstorming was exciting and provided some impressive and very valuable results, allowing people to highlight 5-6 focus areas that needed particular attention in the short term. Finally, participants used these focus areas to come up with key performance indicators, targets and actions in order to achieve the related sustainability goals.

The energy in the room was high all day. It became even higher when participants were asked to share with the group 2 actions that they would each individually undertake in the next 2 months. Each of these  sustainability commitments were followed by spontaneous applause and the commitments presented by the CEO were a good indicator that Edmonton International Airports was taking a significant step towards transformational change towards sustainability. I felt very privileged to witness such a great process!