Flying green…Is it possible?

August is almost here, and again it becomes an hectic rush hour to holiday destinations.
And of course, a lot of us wish to go abroad and comfortably taking a plane. Because! It is faster, fresher, easier, thrilling and, obviously, cheap.
Well, at least it is convenient for our wallets, but what about our environment?
This week SteamGreen has tried to put light on the matter and understand what is the truth and cost behind such an easy click.

The report

PWC, a world famous consulting compnay, has reviewed 30 airline companies corporate reports (out of a sample of 46 co.s based- sample) and then analysed the outcoming data.
First of all they noticed that more and more companies, maybe pushed by the stakeholders’ attention to the environment, have been assessing their practices and published comprehensive reviews.
Back in the 90s only a few european pioneers, like German Lufthansa and Dutch KLM did that.
However only 38% out of 100 companies signalled by Airline Business to be the top 100, actually implement some kind of reporting.

However these reports arent fully integrated. In order to be so, indeed, they should be considering everyone of the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental factors.
For example, 23% of them miss the economic disclosure.
Another interesting fact is that only 37% have let an independent verifier certificate their results.

And that is actually a very important point. How should a client approach such measures?
Not only they might doubt the source of the information, but also the issue is the comparability among companies.
Indeed, as it comes to any kind of reporting or review most oftenly, is that the author autonomously chooses the core indicators which is going to characterise the traits of such.
As a result, out of convenience or out of subjectivity, reports feature all kinds of units of measure and indexes. And the message is: confusion for the reader.

Notwithstanding, according to PWC these are the best companies, according to their standards, which are:

-General business profile
– Strategy and policy

– Governance structure and management approach

– Results

– Corporate social reporting policy

– Relevance of reported measures

– Clarity of the report

– Reliability of the report

– Stakeholder involvement

-Contextual consistency


The 7 highest quality reports: (in alphabetical order) Air France, KLM,  Delta Air Lines, Iberia LAN Airlines, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines, UPS.

You can read the whole report here.


What matters

Of course, sustainability reporting is not the only factor.
Industrial and commercial practices make a big difference, when it comes to be cleaner.
In deed, recycling the inevitable waste that is generated during a flight, the sourcing, having a modern fleet and carbon offsetting would be the first step to take a sustainable path.
Not only, investing in innovation would be genial.
KLM for example, is already experimenting some flights fuelled by used oil.

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