27th July 2021 – Aviation sustainability and the environment
Our global economy is tightly intertwined with aviation as it facilitates commerce and carries goods. Today, demand for mobility is increasing as wealth grows in emerging economies, businesses continue to accelerate internationally, and prices for flights decline. Present trends suggest that global air passengers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037. However, as air travel continues to rise, so does a global focus on understanding the environmental impacts of aviation. Aviation produces around two per cent of global carbon emissions and without further actions emissions from aviation will swell along with passenger traffic. Aviation is not included in the Paris Agreement16 and has often been cited as an emissions laggard – but improvements may finally be in sight: the industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, ushered by a combination of technological disruption and societal expectations. More efficient aircraft, better infrastructure and sustainable fuels are all amongst the solutions being pursued.
Companies that fail to respond to the impacts of the transition to a lower-carbon economy face financial and reputational risks. Greenhouse gas emissions from airline and airport operations and across the value chain create risk due to ever tighter carbon constraints from increasingly stringent policies, changing consumer behaviour, and shareholder expectations. A robust carbon footprint provides the foundation to develop a transition strategy ; one that should not be considered as an abstract initiative that is layered onto the company's business model, but one that informs how the model should evolve to limit exposure to transition risk, and ensure the company's long-term viability.