IAG backs plan for net zero emissions by 2050

As logistics operators seek to reduce their environmental impact, more forwarders, express operators and now airlines are seeking to reach net-zero emissions over the next several decades. On Thursday, International Airlines Group (IAG) – parent group of carriers British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling – announced it would be the first airline group to commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Today aviation represents 2% of global CO2 emissions,” said IAG’s CEO, Willie Walsh. “We’re investing in new aircraft and innovative technology to reduce our carbon footprint in an industry where there’s no current alternative to jet fuel.”

“In addition to our own initiatives, there must be a global solution and we’re participating in the new United Nations’ aviation offsetting scheme which allows our industry to invest in carbon reduction in other sectors,” Walsh added.

The airline group is pursuing several initiatives to reduce its emissions. Among those, IAG said it will replace older aircraft in its fleet with 142 new aircraft, worth US$27 billion and up to 25% more carbon-efficient, over the next five years.

IAG is also investing $400 million in sustainable jet fuel over the next 20 years, including through British Airways’ partnership with Velocys to build a household waste-to-jet fuel plant in the United Kingdom, with a start-up target of 2024. According to a statement from IAG, the plant will turn household waste into sustainable fuel, producing 70% fewer emissions than fossil fuel.

Several European operators are moving to reduce their carbon footprint, but the green logistics movement is also gaining global traction. Last month, Amazon placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vehicles while also announcing its new Climate Pledge, aiming to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years ahead of schedule. Kuwait-based Agility Ventures also recently announced an $18 million investment in technologies to make its supply chain more energy efficient.

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Caryn Livingston

Caryn Livingston is Editor of the monthly magazine Air Cargo World and Deputy Editor of the company’s monthly newsletter, Cargo Facts, and its weekly e-mail publication Cargo Facts Update. Prior to joining Cargo Facts in 2017, Caryn worked as a journalist in Houston covering the oil and gas industry. She holds a BA in English from the University of Tulsa and an MA in Literature from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.