It’s no secret that the aviation industry has a net zero 2050 target. As a company, we have been working towards that for several years now, and more recently, towards our own company targets of being net zero by 2035 and carbon negative by 2040 for our direct operations across the estate i.e. on the ground.
Our latest Responsible Business Report, published just this week, clearly demonstrates our progress and our contribution to these targets. The biggest difference we can make in the skies above the UK before new fuels and engines are commercially available, is by modernising airspace. Earlier this year, we implemented one of the UK’s biggest airspace modernisation changes over Wales and southwest England, known as West. This alone is set to deliver an annual saving of over 12,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in UK airspace.
We are also focusing on our estate performance, working hard to reduce our electricity consumption, which we have done by 40% since 2006. A large number of projects were completed in the past year to sustain and upgrade our mechanical and electrical equipment, improving the efficiency of our systems. We’ve also consolidated sites, progressed large-scale on-site solar panel plans and commissioned the installation of 100 new electric vehicle charging points – as well as electric bike charging points.
But the Report covers much more than sustainability and CO2 emissions. It also talks about the steps we’ve taken with respect to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I), publishing a combined Pay Gap Report for gender and ethnicity and becoming a member of Inclusive Companies to support our continued progress towards fair and equal recruitment. We were encouraged to see our most recent Early Careers intake being 58% women, 27% of the intake also being from an ethnic minority background.
We have strengthened our relationships with our two corporate charity partners, Aerobility and the Jon Egging Trust, and continued to support the causes closest to employees’ hearts through our Footprint Fund, which awards up to £500 to each successful applicant.
We have worked extensively with our suppliers to ensure that responsible business principles are front and centre; and worked closely with wind farm developers to mitigate the impact on radar from wind turbines to enable much larger and more wind farm developments. Under our commercial business, we are supporting the industry in the implementation of urban air mobility ‘flying taxis’ and electric advanced air mobility, which in the future could replace some air travel with low or no emission solutions.
Of course, we can always do more. During the year we were awarded a ‘B’ rating for our environmental stewardship by CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) for our 2021-22 financial year disclosure. While this exceeds the average score of ‘C’ for companies within our benchmarked industrial support services sector, our aim is to achieve and maintain a leadership score of at least ‘A-’ to reflect our commitment to measuring, managing and disclosing our environmental impacts.
It is a collective and collaborative effort, with our employees, but also our customers, suppliers, investors – all of our stakeholders. We will continue to strive to make improvements in sustainability and responsibility and focus our efforts to make a real difference as we continue to safely manage air traffic in UK skies, that is our promise.
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