Air Canada takes great pride in being a global airline. With that, however, comes global responsibilities and people rightly look to us to help solve the challenges facing our planet.
For our company and industry, this is probably no more pertinent than with respect to the environment and climate change. Although air transportation generates a relatively modest two-to-three per cent of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change, there are very legitimate expectations that air carriers will do everything possible to curtail emissions and shrink their environmental footprint.
This is something the public wants, our customers expect and that investors require. It makes good business sense that we be as efficient as possible, given fuel is a major expense. And operating sustainably is something all of us at Air Canada are determined and proud to do -- and it is not just a new-found enthusiasm.
Between 1990 and 2019, Air Canada has improved its fuel efficiency by 43 per cent. Much of this was achieved from an ambitious $12-billion fleet renewal program to replace older aircraft with the world’s most efficient commercial jets. These investments were complemented by a wide range of other technological and process innovations, as well as programs such as waste reduction and recycling, to further green our airline. Recognizing that acting effectively on global warming requires the joint effort and coordination of many partners and interested parties, we have and will continue to collaborate with governments, NGOs, research institutes, industry organizations and others. This includes becoming the first Canadian airline to sign the UN Global Compact, which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable, socially responsible policies. We were early supporters of Canada’s Action Plan to Reduce GHG Emissions from Aviation and we participated through IATA in developing the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, which made aviation the first industry sector to agree to a global, market-based measure in the climate change field. Good environmental practices are not a goal, but rather a process of continuous improvement. In 2021, Air Canada charted a climate path forward to achieve net-zero GHGs throughout our global operations by 2050. Defining that pathway includes setting 2030 targets for air operations of 20 per cent GHG net reductions, plus a 30 per cent GHG net reduction from ground operations, using 2019 as a baseline.
Building on our successful efforts to date, we intend to accomplish this through four main pillars. These include:
Fleet and operations: We will continue to deploy new, more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body aircraft. On the ground, we will phase out carbon-intensive ground equipment, further advance electric vehicle use and seek other electrification opportunities.
Innovation: We will engage with aircraft and engine makers as we evaluate the viability, safety and performance of new electric, hydrogen or hybrid technologies. Elsewhere in our operations, we will seek opportunities to apply new technology.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and Clean Energy: Air Canada will invest $50 million in SAF and other low carbon aviation fuel development, evaluate the practical application of renewable energy sources, and examine related energy transition measures. Carbon Reductions and Removals: We will continue to evaluate and update our offset strategy and intend to explore carbon negative technologies as well as other direct emission reduction and removal strategies. Air Canada recognizes the importance of caring for the environment while conducting our operations worldwide. In addition to our commitment to leave less carbon in the air, we also have strategies to reduce waste and do more with our partners, employees and communities.
We became the first airline in North America to obtain IATA’s IEnvA (Stage 2) and IWT certification. Since 2017, 51.3 per cent of our total waste has been diverted from landfill in offices and facilities and we are working to continue the reduction of single-use plastics. We all want a greener, healthier planet and it is something we owe our children and the generations to follow. By taking action today, Air Canada is doing its part for a better tomorrow.