Switching paper for styrofoam cups seems l like a small thing, but when you serve 180,000 cups a day, it makes for big reductions in hard-to-dispose-of polystyrene waste. This is one example of Air Canada’s efforts to be environmentally responsible – efforts recognized recently when Air Transport World named us Eco-Airline of the Year for 2018, global recognition that we are very proud of.
It’s now well-established that successful companies operate sustainably, and customers, employees and communities demand it. In response, we have improved fuel efficiency by 40 percent over two decades through a $10 billion fleet investment, and we were the first airline to voluntarily join the World Bank’s IMF Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.
We run a host of conservation and waste-reduction programs. For instance, this year at our Montreal headquarters we began a pilot project offering subsidies to employees who use public transit, while for those who drive we installed charge stations for electric vehicles. We also have a scholarship for employees’ children whose studies relate to sustainability.
In winning the Eco-Airline Award, Air Canada was lauded for its partnerships. Through community groups and small businesses, employees have cleaned shorelines, planted trees and recycled old uniforms, duvets and aircraft materials, including seat covers – which turn out to make fine handbags.
We have collaborated on alternative-fuel research to benefit the whole industry. Under Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative, we are working with 14 organizations to better understand the supply chain and introduce 210,000 litres of sustainable biofuel into a shared airport fuel system. Through a second program, the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research project, we are helping assess biofuels’ effects on contrail formation.
Sustainability is a long game, and ongoing accountability is integral. So, we are also proud that our corporate sustainability report, Citizens of the World, recently won (for the second consecutive year) best report in the transportation category from the Montreal-based Finance and Sustainability Initiative, which promotes responsible investing. I invite you to view the report, as well as our environmental leaveless microsite, at aircanada.com to learn more about our initiatives and how you can help us.
Calin’s column appears every month in enRoute Magazine, Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight magazine found onboard all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights. This edition is from the March 2018 issue.