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How Jane Ashton is taking easyJet towards net zero via SBTi initiative and more
"In the early days, the business criticality of sustainability was sometimes difficult to get across. Nowadays, it is well understood within the business world that sustainability is critical to future success." - Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director at easyJet
In September 2022, easyJet took the remarkable decision to move away from carbon offsets as a sustainability pillar. Although controversial because of occasionally opaque outcomes, offsets have, in general, been a go-to solution for the industry till now.
easyJet’s move opens up a new front for moving airline sustainability towards initiatives that directly impact carbon production and removal.
The airline is not shy to tout its sustainability credentials. For example, easyJet says its Airbus NEO aircraft are at least 15% more fuel efficient than the aircraft they replace and also have a 50% noise reduction.
As a result, “all these measures mean that since 2000, over a 20-year period, we have already reduced our carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre, by one-third.”
The airline has also updated its sustainability strategy for “net zero by 2050” to include other holistic initiatives, including introducing hydrogen-powered jet engines, using sustainable aviation fuel, more fuel-efficient planes and carbon capture to reach the target. It also said it will cut carbon emissions by 35% by 2035.
Meet the Changemaker
Jane Ashton is Sustainability Director at easyJet. With extensive experience in sustainable tourism and leisure travel management in multiple European travel companies, Jane brings a deep desire to create a more sustainable tourism model, which, in her words, delivers commercial success while optimising social value within environmental limits.
Although she is a sustainability champion, Jane believes that travel is undoubtedly a force for good, connecting friends and family, culture and understanding, and a very significant driver of direct and indirect economic benefit.
However, as the climate crisis becomes ever clearer, so does the urgency with which all ‘hard to abate’ sectors – aviation included - need to tackle the challenge of decarbonisation.
“Ultimately, with investors, regulators and customers increasingly rewarding more environmentally efficient travel, it makes business sense to prioritise opportunities to reduce environmental impact, focusing on meaningful carbon reduction by investing in new technologies and innovative business practices”, she says.