Thinking Future Forward at the 2023 Airports Going Green Conference

The flight to Phoenix is booked and I am happily eyeing up the programming schedule for 2023’s AGG Conference. This conference is such a wonderful opportunity to really think “Future Forward” and I’m grateful to the AAAE and Chicago’s Department of Aviation for facilitating this gathering of change-makers from across the aviation industry.

I’ll admit the agenda makes me smile not just because it’s chock-full of brilliant professionals tackling some of the most pressing sustainability issues in the industry and world today, but because it affirms the work our team at Verdis Group has been centering for years through our partnership with Metropolitan Airports Commission and MSP

Airport leaders know that a rapidly changing climate demands resilience and adaptability from the sector. Trends indicate a growing need for optimized, climate-related risk mitigation, resilience, and adaptation strategies for personnel and operations. Additionally, expanding environmental health/safety standards and legislation are increasing the regulatory pressure for climate action and sustainability initiatives. The pressure doesn’t stop there either; airlines and passengers themselves are signaling a desire for a sustainable travel experience.  

To address these challenges, Verdis recognizes sustainability as a strategy that helps catalyze  airports’ ability to achieve their core mission. Our work acknowledges the (important) beginning steps in this process like greenhouse gas inventories (see the ACA) and developing actionable net-zero pathways but we know it takes more. Our clients that had relied solely on purely technical solutions (solar panels, energy efficiency, central plant upgrades, etc.) were always left short of system-wide change and wondering, “How do we engage our people across divisions? Across our organization? How do we increase our team’s capacity for integrated systems thinking?” 

This is where we thrive because we believe 1) integrating and aligning plans for sustainability across an entire organization is the key to transformative results and 2) people participate in what they help create. Our trained facilitators and human-centric approach get clients planning for and asking themselves important questions—Do we all align on an organizational definition for sustainability? What are our projected climate risks? Have we completed a climate vulnerability assessment? How many FTEs should we dedicate to sustainability initiatives? How do we integrate sustainability across the organization?—so they can plan for the big questions: How can our organization become net-positive? Regenerative?

These are the questions that excite me. They are the questions I look forward to hearing at AGG 2023. They are the questions that transformational leaders must be ready to answer.

Daniel Lawse

Daniel Lawse

Principal and Chief Century Thinker

My job is to help organizations take a Living Systems approach and help teams innovate long term by developing practical strategies that help them thrive today and for generations to come. Verdis Group is highly skilled at helping organizations develop Sustainability Action Plans and integrate and align sustainable strategies with their organization’s mission.

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