Finnair has once again been chosen as Finland's most sustainable brand among airlines | Finnair
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Finnair has once again been chosen as Finland's most sustainable brand among airlines

Finnish consumers ranked Finnair as the most sustainable brand within airlines in the Sustainable Brand Index 2021 survey.*

Finnair A350 side wing

What have we done for responsibility over the past year?

During the pandemic, emissions from flying were drastically reduced, but the social and economic costs were high as jobs were lost in both the aviation and tourism industries. As flying gradually begins to recover, we need to ensure that emissions do not recover at the same pace. Finnair has the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the industry: by the end of 2025, we intend to halve the level of net emissions from 2019, and achieve carbon neutrality latest by the end of 2045.

We also worked on this during 2020.

Fuel efficiency is key

Fuel consumption for flights is our biggest environmental impact, and therefore our main goal is to reduce emissions from flight operations. Our goal is to fly every single flight as fuel-efficiently as possible.

Fuel efficiency is considered, for example, by choosing a fuel efficient route, optimising the load and weight of the aircraft and minimising queuing and unnecessary stops during taxiing, as well as using the airspace as efficiently as possible.

We share data on issues affecting fuel consumption with different teams and also partners so that everyone can support the same goal. We started cooperating with Fintraffic ANS at the beginning of the year, and we share our fuel data with them so that we can work together to develop fuel-efficient practices for air navigation.

Aircraft allocation

In terms of emissions and fuel efficiency, a full flight is always better than an emptier one so that the emissions from flying per passenger remain lower. The pandemic period shrank our passenger numbers, so most of our flights are currently flown on smaller ATR and Embraer aircraft.

We closely monitor the development of demand, and we always strive to select the type of aircraft matching the number of passengers for each route and flight. Some of our aircraft have been in long-term parking and we have flown with our newest and most fuel-efficient aircraft. We fly our long-haul flights primarily with our new A350s, which are the absolute top in what comes to fuel efficiency.

Halving food waste

In 2018, we set a goal of halving food waste in our catering operations by the end of 2020. We achieved this goal and the amount of food waste generated on a daily basis was more than 57 kilos less than in 2018. By the end of 2019, we had already managed to halve the food waste per passenger and generate 50 kg less food waste per day than in 2018.However, due to the corona pandemic, 2020 was a challenging year and there was occasionally more food waste. Luckily we were able to donate most of the waste incurred to food aid to local organizations.

Now our goal is to further reduce food waste by 30 % by the end of 2022. In addition, we are moving forward with our goal of halving the use of single use plastic by the end of 2022. We have reduced plastic from various packaging materials, and this work continues.

Aircraft recycling

Did you know that airplanes can be recycled efficiently? One of the oldest planes in our fleet, the Airbus A319 OH-LVB, which has been in use for 21 years, is currently being dismantled at Helsinki Airport. 

Some of the aircraft’s parts  will be used in our other aircraft after careful inspection and possible overhaul.  About 90-95% of the aircraft can be reused or recycled. The body will end up as aluminum bars, which can be used to manufacture, for instance, beverage cans.

We are dismantling the plane ourselves because this allows us to employ our mechanics during a time when their normal workload has decreased due to the lower traffic numbers.

Social and economic responsibility

The pandemic year showed us how closely linked environmental, social and economic responsibility are. Emissions from flying decreased when travel came to a halt, but the social and economic costs were high as jobs were lost and thousands of people were on furlough.

Flight connections play an important role in the vitality of regions, and tourism globally provides a livelihood for around 100 million people. We, too, had to lay off approximately 600 people, and built a change program called NEXT, which provides personal support for the re-employment of those made redundant.

Aviation is not bad, but emissions are, and we need to address this challenge for our industry. Solving the climate challenge of aviation requires the ability to invest, which has been burdened by the economic losses caused by the pandemic. The faster flying can recover, the faster airlines can continue to invest in more fuel-efficient engine technology and sustainable aviation fuels.

“Finnair's sustainability targets have not changed during the pandemic, and the means of achieving them have remained largely the same. It is important that as our traffic recovers after the pandemic, our emissions will not return to the same level. The climate challenges of flying need to be solved, so that the social and economic benefits of aviation can continue in Finland and around the world,” says Finnair’s Head of Sustainability Anne Larilahti.

* The Sustainable Brand Index survey is the largest brand study in the Nordic countries focusing on sustainability. It is conducted annually in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This year, 9,900 people in Finland responded to the study. Every brand is evaluated by about 1 000 consumers. In total 212 brands have been measured in the Finnish study, of which 8 of them Airlines


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