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Munich Airport: Reporting helps to remove silos
13 March 2018
GRI Impact Stories are short interviews with representatives from companies that are using the GRI reporting framework to create tangible benefits for their business and stakeholders.​

​GRI GOLD Community member Munich Airport has an ambitious target to become the first carbon neutral airport in Germany. We spoke to Bernd Schönhofer, Strategic Sustainability Manager at Munich Airport, who told us about the company’s progressive emissions reduction program as well as other initiatives like empowering women in the workplace.
Bernd Schönhofer: For Munich Airport, transparency is essential to enable better understanding of our business model and operations to all stakeholders. This is why Munich Airport publishes an integrated report that combines both financial and sustainability information, including management approaches, key figures and strategies on economic, environmental, and social fronts.
 
Any company that is concerned about sustainability has to take the negative external impacts of their business model into account. For Munich Airport, this process starts with identifying material topics, which are incorporated into the annual strategic planning process. Those material topics are transparently shared with our stakeholders through our integrated report.
 
Munich Airport adopted a new climate strategy last year. Can you tell us about your work to reduce emissions?
 
Munich Airport aims to be the first German airport to have carbon-neutral operations, and we should succeed by the year 2030. The new climate protection strategy relates to Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which we can influence directly. By 2030, Munich Airport wants to reduce 60 percent of its emissions, as compared to 2016, by using technical innovation. We will then compensate the remaining 40 percent by suitable offsetting projects, preferably within the region. 

Although Munich Airport cannot directly influence scope 3 emissions, we aim to reduce those as well, in a joint effort with our aviation partners. The introduction of new pre-conditioned air systems (PCA systems) is a good example of such a co-operation. Aircrafts are supplied with pre-conditioned air while they are parked. As a result, aircrafts no longer need to run their auxiliary power units, causing noise, CO2 emissions, and other air pollutants. In the future, PCA systems will help to save up to 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Finally, emissions-based landing charges will also help to reduce CO2 emissions. 
You have a program in place to train women to take up management positions. Can you tell us about this program and why gender balance is an important sustainability issue for Munich Airport?

The promotion of women in leadership positions is important to us, and the proportion of women in management roles in management levels 1 and 2 has increased to 20 percent in recent years. As an example, women are supported in their leadership roles through a cross-mentoring program, which supports female executives in their professional and personal development. Over a one-year period, each participant will get a mentor from another company, and participate in network meetings or seminars. Mentors from Munich Airport equally support women from other companies in their leadership roles.
 
As an internationally oriented company, Munich Airport benefits from employee diversity. We respect the cultural heritage of all our employees, taking into account their diverse interests and needs. 21 percent of our employees come from more than 50 different countries. This fosters cultural exchange and increases the wealth of expertise within the group. Munich Airport actively ensures equal opportunities and career development at all levels. To anchor this attitude among executives, “diversity as an opportunity" is part of the company's Leadership Excellence program.
 
Munich Airport publishes an integrated report instead of a standalone sustainability reporting. Can you talk a bit about how you use the GRI Framework as part of your integrated reporting and the benefits of reporting this way?

With its standards, GRI has presented a holistic, content-based concept that represents economic, ecological and social disclosures in one document. GRI forms a good "content guide" for presenting financial and non-financial topics on an equal footing. Sustainability is a core element in Munich Airport’s corporate strategy, which is why it makes sense to follow a holistic concept in reporting. With the GRI Standards, we have a reporting standard that offers comparability with other companies, and a good basis for and independent review sustainability indicators. We have also decided to include IIRC approaches in our integrated report, such as the Capital Model. In order to describe the qualitative and quantitative interactions of Munich business model, the main resources of FMG were allocated to the six capital types of the IIRC.
How has Munich Airport benefited from using the GRI framework?

During the last years, Munich Airport has gradually managed to reduce “silo thinking”: integrating financial and sustainability information helped to foster a cross-departmental collaboration process. Many years of reporting, reviewing key figures and approaching our management brought about new processes that are being continuously optimized. 
 
In addition to improving internal cooperation, the product itself has also become better. The report transparently conveys knowledge – internally and externally – and serves as a basis for dialogue with our stakeholders. The materiality survey specifically helps in integrating internal and external stakeholders into the process and allows new trends and developments to enter our corporate strategy.
 
With the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, companies are able to unlock the transformative power of transparency, while contributing to the common sustainability agenda and reaping the benefits of increased stakeholder trust. Join Munich Airport and hundreds of other organizations in the effort to create a sustainable global economy – become a GRI GOLD Community member today!