Deep Dive: Flying To Net Zero
Our new report features in-depth interviews with ten airline leaders on their approaches to various airline sustainability strategies.
Airlines recognise that going green is no longer a catchphrase
As the world hurtles towards a climate crisis, the need to decarbonise quickly and effectively has taken centre stage. Travel – specifically aviation – is in the crosshairs for its outsize contribution to global CO2 emissions. While the industry might argue that it accounts for “only about 3%” of emissions, context is key: 1% of the world’s population accounts for more than half of flying emissions.
As a result, climate activists have grown ever more vociferous in their opposition to flying in general: from flight-shaming campaigns to complaints about greenwashing to gluing hands to the runway and protesting at airports.
The good news, however, is that the industry recognises the need for swift course correction. The aviation industry has adopted the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
What all airlines recognise
The challenge is immense
Airlines admit that the challenge is much tougher than in almost every other industry since the only effective solution is likely to be a new kind of emission-less plane that might be decades away.
The promise of Sustainable Aviation Fuel
They recognise Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) as the likely saviour. Almost all airlines want more of it. However, supply and price appear to be insurmountable challenges in the near future.
Cooperation is important
While airlines may be at different stages of their sustainability journey, they understand that – for once – going green is not merely a competitive differentiator but a societal good that the industry must cooperate towards.
Economic viability is a major concern
If it comes to a choice between reducing carbon emissions at a high cost and staying afloat, airlines will understandably choose the latter. Hundreds of thousands of livelihoods depend on the industry. It cannot be shut down or wished away.
Organisation-wide change is required
Airlines are awakening to the reality that sustainability efforts, knowledge and consciousness must permeate through the entire organisation. The right momentum for change arises when there is complete buy-in and support at all tiers of the company.
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