The pace of environmental progress has accelerated despite economic slowdown, claims Boeing chief
Wed 20 May 2009 – In its 2009 Environment Report just published, Boeing says it is continuing to improve the environmental performance of its products through technology advancements and is targeting improvements in the fuel efficiency of each new generation of commercial aircraft by at least 15% compared to those they replace. The report highlights reductions during 2008 in the company’s energy and water consumption, CO2 emissions and hazardous waste at its facilities, as well as its pioneering efforts in technologies such as sustainable biofuels.
“Protecting our planet’s environment and finding new ways to harness diverse energy resources continues to be a priority for Boeing,” commented Jim McNerney, Boeing’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Over the past year, the pace of progress has accelerated even in the face of a global economic slowdown.”
As well as the biofuel demonstration flights it conducted with Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand, Continental and Japan Airlines, Boeing points to environmental progress in other areas including air traffic management efficiency concepts such as tailored arrivals.
Within its own operations it achieved ISO 14001 environmental certification at all of its major manufacturing facilities by the end of 2008 and it has also received approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders programme for its five-year greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
Boeing is pursuing five-year targets for 25% improvements in recycling rates, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2012, with a similar goal for hazardous waste reduction. The company says it is on track to achieve the targets, outperforming its 2008 plan by around 24% for hazardous waste generation and approximately 2% for greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency, and increasing recycling rates from 58% to 64%.
“Boeing’s strength is its ability to pioneer new technologies to improve environmental performance and our dedication to changing our operations to reduce our impact on the eco-system,” said Mary Armstrong, Vice President Environment, Health and Safety.
In his introduction to the report, McNerney writes that in early 2008 Boeing joined the aviation industry in signing a commitment to action on climate change (see story) which commits it to pursuing carbon-neutral growth and the long-term aspiration eventually to eliminate aviation carbon emissions.
“That is a major undertaking for which there is no single solution – and certainly no easy answer,” he says. “Boeing’s strategy is to focus on three coordinated pathways: continuing to improve the fuel efficiency of our airplanes; improving the efficiency of the air-traffic systems in which they operate; and improving the life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions of the fuels that power our airplanes.
“This holistic approach recognizes that energy and environmental issues are tightly intertwined. The challenge of environmental improvement demands that we harness diverse energy sources while improving overall efficiency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the most beneficial and effective ways.”