Norwegian targets 45% improvement in carbon efficiency and to use 500 million litres of SAF by 2030
Wed 23 Sept 2020 – Low-cost carrier Norwegian has pledged to improve the carbon efficiency of its operations by reducing carbon emissions per passenger kilometre (pax/km) by 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. Carbon emissions per pax/km have fallen by 28% from 2010 to 2019 and Norwegian will need a further reduction of 24% by 2030. The airline is aiming to achieve the target through fleet renewal and the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Depending on the level of fleet renewal, the airline is committing to utilising between 16 and 28 per cent of SAF by the end of the decade, equivalent of up to 500 million litres. Norwegian is also planning a 100% reduction of non-recyclable plastics and a 30% reduction and 100% recycling of single-use plastics by 2023. In efforts to improve accountability, the company will also integrate climate risk and environmental factors into corporate governance, risk management and annual reporting.
“Norwegian is a low-cost commercial business in a competitive market. We deliver affordable and quality flights to our customers. Over the next 3.5 years, the overall strategic goal is to use less natural resources and make more money,” writes CEO Jacob Schram in the introduction to the airline’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy report. “The overall goal rests on the principle that environmental actions must deliver a profit to be economically sustainable and operationally scalable.
“The low-cost model is the sustainability model in aviation as it enables highly efficient energy and resource management.”
The strategic objectives Norwegian says it will be focusing on are to make sustainability an integrated part of the business, achieve a best-in-class position among European carriers, “clean” the supply chain, take control of environmental social governance data and secure “predictable” regulations.
This will, it says, involve SAF procurement and using the airline’s purchasing power to ramp up production and involve suppliers in reaching SAF targets. Norwegian will also seek a regulatory framework that reduces investment uncertainty and rewards carbon efficiency. The price gap between conventional jet fuel and SAF should be closed by stimulating increased production through policy instruments, argues the airline, without introducing new market distortions. If introduced, blending mandates should be put on airlines and based on reduction targets to reduce market distortion effects, it adds.
“We encourage producers to ramp up production of sustainable aviation fuels. Norwegian will be actively engaging with producers to kick-start this vital contribution to the industry and take advantage of the emission savings that these fuels offer,” said Schram.
On the airline’s reduction targets on plastics, Head of Environmental Sustainability Anders Fagernæs said sustainable options were becoming a greater consideration by customers when choosing which airline to fly with.
“We will champion this attitude and become the customers’ sustainable choice by reducing and recycling plastic waste, promoting sustainable aviation fuel and continuing to fly one of the world’s youngest fleets,” he said.
The airline does not currently reveal annual fuel consumption or absolute carbon emissions data in its annual reports but, promises, Schram: “Our targets are action oriented and measurable. We will be open and share our progress actively. We commit to integrate climate risk and environmental factors into corporate governance, risk management and annual reporting.”
Norwegian claims to be the first to sign a UNFCCC pledge to become carbon neutral by 2050 and was found by ICCT to be the most fuel-efficient carrier on transatlantic routes in 2015 and 2018.