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Reducing Aerial Survey Carbon Footprint

EAASI's Webinar Takes the Industry on a Sustainable Journey

The European Association of Aerial Surveying Industries (EAASI) hosted a highly anticipated webinar on May 26th, 2023, focused on "Reducing Aerial Survey Carbon Footprint." This virtual event brought together industry experts and professionals to share experiences in implementing sustainable practices in aerial surveying.

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

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 scopes 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 is a carbon-neutral company since 2021.

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 proposed several strategies for decarbonizing aerial survey operations, emphasizing the importance of:

· Optimizing flight planning and routing to minimize fuel consumption.

· Investing in modern aircraft and advanced sensors that offer enhanced energy efficiency.

· Introducing fuel-saving modifications to existing aircraft and technologies.

· Transitioning to electric or hydrogen-powered aircraft as a sustainable alternative.

· Utilizing biofuels and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

· Choosing aircraft types that provide maximum fuel efficiency while meeting survey requirements.

· Exploring and utilizing alternate remote sensing technologies wherever applicable.

· Promoting data efficiency by minimizing the frequency and duration of data collection.

· Encouraging collaboration and data sharing among industry players to reduce redundant data collection.

· Offsetting remaining emissions through verified carbon offset projects.

· Fostering employee engagement and education to drive sustainable practices within the organization.

· Raising awareness of Fugro's net-zero targets with aviation providers and encouraging industry-wide collaboration.

· Actively monitoring advancements in aviation.

Alejandro de Juanes, Climate Change Project Manager at Trinoa, and expert in helping companies compensate for their carbon emissions, emphasized the importance of companies embracing sustainability to align with global efforts such as the Paris Agreement, increase operational efficiency, meet growing demands from both public and private clients, and comply with evolving regulations regarding non-financial information disclosure. He highlighted that sustainable practices not only contribute to reducing the environmental impact but also have potential implications for access to finances. De Juanes shared a roadmap for companies aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, emphasizing the crucial steps of measuring carbon footprint, defining targets, implementing emission reduction strategies, and offsetting remaining emissions. He encouraged companies to start their sustainability journey promptly, stressing that early action would pave the way for easier 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.


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