SAS and Norwegian join initiatives to reduce emissions and drive sustainability
Fri 16 Nov 2018 – Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) CEO Rickard Gustafson has joined other Nordic-based company leaders in announcing an initiative to align their business strategies with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explore opportunities for collaboration. They say there is a need for new business models to drive the transition to a modern economy aligned with ethical, social and environmental priorities. Referencing SDGs 9, 12 and 13, Gustafson said SAS will reduce its emissions by 25% by 2030 and use advanced biofuels equivalent to all SAS domestic air traffic. Meanwhile, low-cost carrier Norwegian has said it will expand an initiative undertaken with Sweden’s Avtech on new weather technology that can help optimise flight paths for improving fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
The group of Nordic CEOs pledging alignment with the SDGs represent companies such as Equinor, Islandsbanki, Nokia, Swedbank, Vestas and five other large organisations based in the region. They presented their initiative to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who is also a co-chair of the UN’s Global SDG Advocate group, during the recent Nordic Council session in Oslo. The CEOs said it would also create a platform for Nordic prime ministers to engage directly with them on how to move from sustainability as a compliance exercise to “purpose-driven companies”. A key objective, they say, is to explore ways to deliver more impact through collaboration and responsible business practices.
“SAS is taking ambitious steps to reduce the negative impact from aviation through innovation, smart solutions and major investments in the latest technology, without compromising the important role of aircraft in our society – enabling people to meet and create value and growth,” commented Gustafson.
A report by the Swedish Energy Agency, which partly funded the Norwegian test project with Avtech, found that results from a total of 29,000 flights that took place in November and December 2017 showed a reduction of 640 tons of fuel on Norwegian’s flights during this period. This corresponds to an annual fuel reduction of 5,000 tons, thus saving 16,000 tons of CO2 emissions as well as fuel costs.
The new technology, Aventus Air weather service, provides Norwegian’s pilots with highly accurate wind and temperature information in accordance with the flight plan. Data is transferred to the aircraft’s systems, which makes it possible to optimise the flight path for improved fuel efficiency.
“Our ambition is to continue to reduce emissions per passenger with fuel-efficient aircraft and with innovative technology,” said Tomas Hesthammer, Norwegian’s Director of Flight Operations. “The Avtech project demonstrates that fuel consumption can be further reduced by using advanced weather data. We are looking forward to establishing a permanent partnership that benefits both the environment and Norwegian’s costs.”
In September, Norwegian was named as the most fuel-efficient carrier on transatlantic routes in a report by the International Council on Clean Transportation, which showed it to be 33% more efficient on a per passenger basis than the industry average (see article).