IAG backs net zero emissions by 2050

Climate solutions

The International Airlines Group (IAG) is the first airline group worldwide to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

By doing so, it will contribute to both the UK government’s commitment to a net zero carbon economy by 2050 and the United Nations’ objective to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

IAG was instrumental in setting up the United Nations’ first global carbon offsetting scheme named CORSIA, which will enable aviation to cut its CO2 emissions by 2.5 billion tonnes between 2020 and 2035 through US$40 billion investment in carbon reduction projects.

The Group’s new emissions goal will be achieved through numerous environmental initiatives:

  • British Airways will offset carbon emissions for all its UK domestic flights from 2020. It will achieve this by investing in verified carbon reduction projects equivalent to the carbon emissions it creates for domestic flights. These include solar energy projects, forestation programmes and tree planting in South America, Africa and Asia.
  • Investing US$400 million in sustainable aviation fuel in the next 20 years. This includes British Airways’ partnership with specialist company Velocys to build Europe’s first household waste to jet fuel plant in the UK which will start operations in 2024. The plant will turn household waste destined for landfill into sustainable fuel which produces 70 per cent less CO2 emissions than fossil fuel.
  • Replacing older aircraft in the IAG fleet with 142 new aircraft over the next five years, worth US$27 billion at list prices. These are up to 25 per cent more carbon efficient than those they replace.
  • Exploring new carbon capture technology by partnering with US company Mosaic Materials via the Group’s start-up accelerator Hangar 51. The start-up has created an innovative adsorbent material to take out CO2 emissions directly from the atmosphere.
  • Management incentives are being developed, in line with IAG’s new targets, for employees to reduce carbon emissions across the Group.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “Today aviation represents two per cent of global CO2 emissions. 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.

“Aviation’s dependency on fossil fuels means that it’s essential that governments support its efforts to decarbonise by providing incentives to accelerate investment in new technologies. Global warming needs a global solution and all these initiatives will help limit the world’s temperature increase to 1.5 degrees”.