Across the globe, aircraft and engine manufacturers are demonstrating great examples of greener manufacturing. Some are even insisting on such standards throughout their production supply chain.
Pratt & Whitney
Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has launched ambitious goals to further improve the sustainability of its factories, suppliers and products by 2025. The goals, backed by $60m of investment for over 800 environmental projects focus on waste, energy, water, safety and wellness, materials, suppliers and products.
By 2025, Pratt & Whitney aims to have zero waste in its factories, with 100% of waste recycled. Energy use will be optimised and there will be an 80% reduction of greenhouse gases (greenhouse gases have already been reduced by 30% in factories). The company is aiming for no water waste and an 80% reduction of water consumption.
In terms of safety, the goal is for employees to be injury-free and have best-in-class wellness programmes. Pratt & Whitney engines will be 100% recyclable at the end of their life. Their suppliers will have world class safety rates, meet resource conservation targets, and be 100% green certified.
Boeing and Kaiser
Boeing’s aluminium supplier, Kaiser has recently instigated a closed-loop recycling system for aluminium, which will see around ten million kilograms of offcut and scrap metal a year being re-used in the industry – the largest such scheme of its type. A five-year environment audit has revealed that Boeing reduced hazardous waste by 18%, CO2 by 9%, energy-use by 3% and water intake by 2%, all despite employing 13,000 more people and opening a major manufacturing facility. In 2012, 79% of the solid waste Boeing generated was diverted from landfills – a 36% improvement since 2007.
Boeing and ELG Carbon Fibre
Boeing and UK-based global recycler ELG Carbon Fibre signed a 5-year agreement in 2018 that will divert up to 2 million pounds of carbon composite waste a year from landfills from 11 of Boeing’s manufacturing sites, supporting the company’s goal to reduce landfill waste by 20% by 2025. ELG recycles the carbon waste and sells the remanufactured material primarily to companies that make products for electronics and ground transportation industries, such as car parts and computer cases. Just a few years ago, recycling cured carbon fibre was not possible, but with new technology, successful recycling supply chain economics and great collaboration within the industry and with recyclers, the sector strives to continually reduce the amount of composite scrap sent to landfills.
In January 2007, Airbus became the first aerospace enterprise to receive ISO14001 environmental certification covering all of the company’s production sites, products and services throughout a lifecycle approach.
The Airbus blue5 initiative has a set of stringent targets to meet by 2020 for the company’s manufacturing sites around the world. In 2012, the programme had already resulted in;
- 30% reduction in energy consumption
- 43% reduction in water consumption
- 46% reduction in non-recycled waste production
- 34% reduction in CO2