Aviation contributes 2% of all man-made CO2 emissions, 80% of which are related to passenger flights exceeding 1,500km / 900 miles for which there is no practical alternative. Led by ICAO, it is also one of the few industries in the world to have a truly global approach to improving its environmental performance. The aeronautical industry is committed to achieving:
- Neutral growth from 2020, and
- Cutting net CO2 emissions in half by 2050 (referenced to 2005).
Growth in air travel is a global need – and it need not be inconsistent with creating a better environment for all. Airbus delivers eco-efficient solutions throughout the life cycle of its products, creating added value while minimising environmental impact; covering aircraft design, end of life, supply chain, manufacturing and operations.
In January 2007, Airbus became the first company in the aerospace manufacturing sector to receive ISO 14001 environmental certification covering all its manufacturing sites and product related activities throughout a full life-cycle approach. Initially secured for 16 sites across Europe, this certification has been now successfully expanded to sites in China and the USA, guaranteeing a set standard is applied wherever Airbus operates.
This certifies that Airbus uses a robust Environmental Management System (EMS) to continually monitor and minimise the environmental impacts of Airbus processes and products at each stage of the activity.
Airbus has set ambitious objectives for its manufacturing activities, to continuously improve their environmental performance:
• 30% reduction in energy consumption
• 50% reduction in CO2 emissions
• 50% reduction in solvent emissions
• 50% reduction in water consumption
• 80% reduction in water discharge
• 50% reduction in waste production.
Progressive elimination of the most toxic chemicals is also being investigated as part of the REACH compliance programme. This includes looking at the development and implementation of toxic free alternatives.
Efforts are being focused on the use of renewable sources of energy for buildings and a new set of standards are being developed around this. An energy road map is being defined to improve energy consumption in Airbus plants worldwide.
Beyond aircraft eco-efficiency
In addition to helping the aviation industry tackle the 2% it contributes to man-made CO2 emissions, Airbus is also committed to supporting those tackling the other 98% – such as the 17-20% from deforestation, which has a huge impact on biodiversity.
Airbus is working in partnership with the United Nations Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to support ‘The Green Wave’ initiative, designed to engage and educate young people about the crucial role biodiversity plays in our lives and our futures. The Green Wave encourages young people to celebrate life on earth and in particular at 10:00am on The International Day of Biodiversity, which falls on the 22nd May each year.
Maintaining biodiversity is critical to a sustainable world: the future innovation, food and water security, competitiveness and industry growth. Since the days of Leonardo da Vinci, aeronautic engineers have been inspired by the natural world. From eagle-inspired winglets on the A380 to lotus-effect coatings on cabin fittings, ‘biomimicry” shows is that nature is a library from which industry can learn. So preserving biodiversity also preserves Airbus’ future innovation.
Airbus is an EADS company.
Read more about Airbus’ Environmental policy here