Mott MacDonald with Heathrow Airport


Sustainability Award

MCA Awards Finalist 2024Decarbonisation of the aviation sector is one of society’s most complex challenges and priorities. As the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow has six terminals covering over 1000 ha and transports both freight and more than 80 million passengers to over 180 global destinations.

With its status as the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow strives to lead in decarbonising its operations to deliver net zero. It’s carbon reduction target aims to cut airborne carbon by up to 15%, and ground level emissions by 45% by 2030. Through its Carbon and Sustainability Programme, Heathrow has committed to investing £250m over 5 years across its operations including surface access, energy, airport operations, and heat decarbonisation.

Mott MacDonald was entrusted with the role of programme designer in 2022. We worked with Heathrow to develop the programme’s business case and facilitate workshops to map out and secure funding to deliver 5+ years of capital infrastructure.

Working with capital delivery, operational business and strategy teams, and Heathrow’s supply chain and stakeholders, we created a low-carbon ecosystem to drive transformational change. This involved:

  • Shaping a programme of 30 projects to meet Heathrow’s carbon reduction target. We planned the delivery of these projects, managing risk, authoring business cases and engaging with all relevant stakeholders.
  • Developing a holistic energy strategy for Heathrow. This established a system-level view of how the airport could achieve net zero by 2050, with roadmaps detailing timeframes.
  • Designing an innovation programme to explore further decarbonisation options and opportunities, beyond those already identified.

The team at Mott MacDonald remains responsible for the programme’s delivery and overall success. We’ve empowered Heathrow to define and prioritise the scope of the programme, created dashboards to monitor progress, identified and managed emerging issues, brought the right people into the right roles to manage delivery, and continuously support our client to mitigate project risk.

To further embed sustainability across Heathrow, alongside other partners within its ecosystem, we are applying the lessons learnt from the Carbon and Sustainability Programme in establishing the Efficient Airport Programme. This programme will demonstrate how an efficient airport can optimise cost, energy and carbon together.  Mott MacDonald has also collaborated with Heathrow on its Centre of Excellence, bringing together stakeholders from procurement, carbon strategy, finance, engineering and other experts from partner organisations. The Centre of Excellence provides guidance and support to other capital programmes so that the reduction of supply chain emissions can happen at scale. For carbon, Heathrow is now rolling out revised standards for both suppliers and internal projects and conducting carbon hotspot workshops.

By embracing Heathrow’s values, Mott MacDonald has brought together various key stakeholders and supply partners to collaborate and partner towards achieving the airport’s ambitious net zero and sustainability goals.

As we collaborate with our clients and across the industry to solve some of the biggest challenges our society has faced, our work with Heathrow demonstrates an industry-leading approach. We are at the forefront of critical thinking around carbon and how we work together in building a more sustainable aviation industry.

View the Mott MacDonald profile in the MCA Members Directory.