Finnair chosen as Finland's most sustainable brand among airlines
Finnish consumers ranked Finnair as the most sustainable brand among the 8 airlines included in the Sustainable Brand Index 2022 survey. *
Sustainability is an essential part of Finnair. Despite the prolonged pandemic and the rapid changes in our operating environment due to war in Ukraine, we have systematically worked towards our ambitious sustainability targets. We aim to halve our CO2 emissions by the end of 2025 compared to 2019 figures and reach carbon neutrality by the end of 2045. We are also reinforcing our commitment to social responsibility, which has been in a key role during the difficult pandemic years.
Here is a summary of what we have done over the past year to improve sustainability.
Route and aircraft management lowers fuel use and emissions
Improving fuel efficiency is a direct way of impacting our CO2 emissions, and we have made progress in both optimal fleet utilisation and fuel-efficient flying. Several custom designed tools help us in this target: our new optimising tool Tail Swapper makes it possible to change the type of aircraft swiftly if there is a change in the number of passengers. It helps avoid flights being operated with an unnecessarily large aircraft and helps to save fuel accordingly. Another tool is used by technical operations to optimize wide-body traffic. The fuel use between different wide-body aircraft types varies greatly, and the tool helps find the best aircraft and route combinations, so that longer routes are operated with planes using the least fuel. A third tool was introduced into the flight deck of our long-haul aircraft to help pilots find the best balance between flight speed and fuel consumption.
Optimization work created a saving of 3200 tons of CO2 in 2021. For 2022 a saving of 10 000 tons is expected, equaling roughly the yearly CO2 emissions created by approximately one thousand average Finnish consumers.
Progress in Sustainable aviation fuels
Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are an important part of the toolbox we are using to achieve our long-term plan for carbon neutrality. We aim to increase the use of SAF together with the oneworld Alliance, which has set a common goal of achieving a 10 per cent level in SAF uptake by 2030. In November 2021, oneworld announced a joint commitment to purchase more than 350 million gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel from Aemetis for operations at San Francisco and Finnair was among the members in this commitment. We have also committed to another oneworld SAF purchase agreement of sustainable aviation fuel from Colorado-based renewable fuels producer Gevo.
Inviting customers to offset their flight emissions
Offsets continue to be central in reaching carbon neutrality in aviation, and trustworthy offset projects with concrete and verifiable emission cuts are needed. In December 2021, the Finnish Parliament approved an amendment to the law that will allow companies to sell compensation services and on March 16, 2022, we started to offer our customers the possibility to offset their flight emissions with a service that combines Sustainable Aviation Fuel and trusted climate projects.
Towards circular economy
During 2021, we renewed our in-flight catering concept, and sustainability was one of the design drivers. We replaced plastic cutlery with wooden cutlery, and increased the availability of vegetarian food. In addition, our previous target of halving food waste was extended with an additional 30% reduction target. Measures to achieve this goal included simplifying the menu and transferring fresh products to the pre-order menu. Total amount of waste generated by Finnair in Finland in 2021 decreased by 40.4 % from the previous year. We carried 18 % less passengers in 2021 compared to previous year due to pandemic impacting traveling.
Finnair and recycling partner Kuusakoski dismantled and recycled a 21-year-old Airbus A319 aircraft that had reached the end of its economic life cycle. We initially estimated that about 90-95 per cent of the materials could be reutilized, but the final recovery rate turned out to be even higher than expected, with only 0.8 per cent of the material ending up as waste. The project also created work and learning opportunities for our Technical operations employees, at a time when our traffic was at a low level due to the pandemic.
Social responsibility in the heart of sustainability
“Social responsibility is a key component of our sustainability work, and will only increase in importance in the future”, says Eveliina Huurre, SVP Sustainability at Finnair.
Even during the challenging pandemic times, we have offered our customers safe and reliable travel experiences, thanks to our committed and professional employees. Our employees were hit hard by the pandemic, and many were made redundant or furloughed. We supported re-employment of those who were made redundant with a versatile program created together with partners, and many of our competent professionals found new work opportunities via the program. Many of our employees were on long furloughs, and Finnair offered support in the form of occupational health care as well as online coaching for well-being.
The most recent action in social responsibility has been the support to Ukraine through donations made by Finnair and our customers. We also offered a 95% discount during March on key routes to Helsinki for those who had to flee the war.
* 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, 9 150 people in Finland responded to the study. Every brand is evaluated by about 1 000 consumers. In total 214 brands have been measured in the Finnish study, of which 8 of them Airlines.