Five years ago, NetJets Europe embarked on a journey to distinguish itself, in both the aviation industry and the wider business world, by launching Real Difference - an overarching programme of environmental activity that included a key goal to become carbon neutral within five years.
Five years on, NetJets Europe is close to reaching that goal, yet when Real Difference was launched, many thought it a paradox that an aviation company could lead the way in environmental matters. One could understand their reasoning – aviation is, after all, a polluting industry, thought to be responsible for up to 3.5% of anthropogenic climate change.
Business aviation is only estimated to contribute 0.2% to overall aviation emissions and the sector faces particular challenges that are not shared by commercial airlines. Business aviation carriers have no fixed routes and operate over a diverse range of airports – both of which add an increased complexity to the introduction of sustainable practices.
Despite these challenges, NetJets Europe believed it was imperative for it to become not only Europe’s leading business aviation company but also a leader in environmental aviation.
There is also a business case for being more environmentally efficient as it results in financial savings. This is especially important given the challenging business environment that has developed since Real Difference was launched.
The Real Difference campaign has three pillars of activity that allow NetJets Europe to challenge every aspect of the business on a day-to-day basis:
- Every Day Difference – we continually strive to reduce our carbon emissions and improve our performance on other environmental issues such as noise pollution;
- Carbon Offsetting – we offset all our emissions, caused by both our internal and flight operations;
- Green Horizons – we are actively exploring longer term aviation technologies and methodologies, within our fleet planning and by exploring sustainable alternatives to fossil-based fuels.
- Many of the objectives set in 2007 – such as a commitment to reduce office emissions by 10% within two years – were not only met but were done so in a way that far surpassed our expectations. This served to sharpen our aspirations to make further progress.
I am pleased to report how progress is being made:
- Despite the introduction of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and our compliance with this new regulation, we continue to be committed to achieving 100% carbon neutrality in 2012. Once achieved, we believe we will be the only airline in Europe to achieve carbon neutrality. To date, we have offset more than 62,000 flights or 687,343 tonnes of carbon from customer emissions.
- Our Fuel Team’s analysis, combined with the steadfast work of our pilots has reduced our average fuel burn per flight hour by an average 4% over the past two years.
- Our Greenhouse Gas Profile shows a reduction in flight emissions between 2009 and 2011 of around 2%.
- Waste from in-flight meals has been greatly reduced thanks to our recyclable catering box that was introduced in 2009. Since the inception of the project, over €400,000 of catering equipment has been re-utilised. Again, this figure has been achieved in coordination with the daily efforts of our crew members and onsite catering and cleaning suppliers.
- Our waste management and recycling policies in our office-based operations are constantly improving. We use environmentally certified operators for our waste disposal and recycling and provide their certification to local environmental authorities as evidence of a controlled waste management system that follows local legislation.
- Over the last six months, we have initiated the development of a robust sustainable procurement policy. This is a new commitment that will help improve our overall environmental performance as well as help improve sustainability across the industry. In the first instance the policy will cover more than 100 suppliers.
- We remain committed to our Real Difference campaign and have set a further series of targets for the coming years which include further reductions in fuel burn of up to 1 % per year in 2012 and 2013.
- We are also in the initial stages of exploring the use of a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. In doing this, we wish to ensure that any decisions made are of mutual benefit to the environment and society, as well as to our key stakeholders over the long term.
We are privileged, throughout our Environmental Programme to be challenged and guided by some of the keenest environmental minds in the world who sit on our Environmental Advisory Board (EAB) and we are honoured to serve our Owners many of whom have joined us in our quest to lead the way on environmental performance.
I am proud to lead a company where every single member of staff has embraced our environmental commitments and strives to improve our efforts on a daily basis.
I hope you enjoy the report.
Chairman and Chief Executive, NetJets Europe
Throughout this report, the term Owners refers to all NetJets customers, including fractional aircraft Owners, Leaseholders and Card holders.
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