Denver International Airport Becomes ISO 14001 Certified 7 Denver International Airport (DIA)…

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Denver International Airport Becomes ISO 14001 Certified 7

Denver International Airport (DIA) aims to become a world-class airport by emphasizing service, on-time flights, and caring for the environment. Addressing environmental issues may be a new approach for an airport, but it has paid off for DIA. In 2005, it became the first international airport in the United States to be ISO 14001 (environmental management system, or EMS) registered. DIA did not set out to become certified; it simply wanted a structure to handle environmental issues. ISO 14001 provided guidelines for establishing an EMS. With the amount of effort put into complying with the standards, the next logical step was to become certified.

There are more benefits to ISO 14001 certification than the credibility and additional transparency DIA has received. DIA has a structured and EMS program that allows it to do more with less. Processes are documented outlining employees’ duties. The employees receive training and understand what is expected of them from an EMS compliance standpoint. DIA has been able to influence the environmental actions of others. Impressed by DIA’s accomplishments, the city and county of Denver have established environmental programs for all their departments. DIA is working with other international airports to establish sustainability guidelines for the world’s airports. DIA’s environmental initiatives have achieved quantitative and monetary results. The goals and results are highlighted in DIA’s annual reports. Following is a list of some accomplishments:

• $1.7 million in savings by recycling aircraft deicing fluid (ADF)

• $160,000 in savings from decreases in gasoline and diesel usage

• Over $2.1 million saved between 2007 and 2008

• 1,432 tons of solid waste (11.15% of total) generated in 2008 recycled

• Hazardous solid wastes reduced from 20,000 pounds to 3,760 pounds in just one year

ISO 14001 certification is not the end result for DIA. Environmental management is now incorporated into the airport’s strategic planning process. The requirements and structure of ISO registration motivate DIA to be aggressive in setting new initiatives and goals. The organization wants to be proactive to stay ahead of environmental regulation. DIA’s environmental impact extends beyond the company as it is involved in community outreach programs and participates as a member of various environmental organizations. In the end, ISO 14001 certification has enabled Denver International Airport to progress toward environmental accountability and sustainability.


1. What do you view as the benefits of ISO 14001 adoption and implementation?

2. Is ISO registration useful for airports? Why or why not?

3. How can the benefits of ISO registration extend outside the company?


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