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Driving sustainability culture – Celebrating Finnair’s centennial with 100 sustainability actions

As Finnair is embarking on a journey towards more sustainable flying, we are thoughtfully incorporating environmental, social, and governance considerations into our operations. We're making various changes, big and small, to improve our sustainability.

In a special initiative during our centenary year, we invited our employees to share their ideas on sustainability. The response was heartening, with over 250 inventive and thoughtful suggestions received. From these, around 100 initiatives were carefully selected, each aligning with both environmental and social sustainability goals. These initiatives, implemented during the centenary celebrations, represent the small, yet important steps we are taking towards the next hundred years.

Small steps towards carbon neutral flying

As part of our commitment to reducing emissions, achieving carbon neutral flying by 2045 remains our foremost sustainability goal. Among the ideas contributed by our employees, several highlighted potential collaborations with Finnish biofuel producer Neste. A notable step in this direction was our first voluntary purchase of Sustainable Aviation Fuel  (SAF) from Neste in spring 2023.

One frequently suggested initiative by our staff was the installation of solar panels on the roofs of Finnair facilities. Over the summer and autumn, Finnair Cargo successfully installed 1,790 solar panels at the top of its COOL terminal, adding to the 1,200 panels previously in place. These panels now generate enough energy at peak capacity to fully power the cargo facility and supply excess energy to other Finnair buildings.

Furthermore, an additional 645 solar panels are being installed on the roof of the LEKO11 building, which is dedicated to aircraft maintenance. These achievements support our commitment to carbon neutral ground services.

Various initiatives to save energy were also suggested, and the ones completed included, for example, implementing LED bulbs in all suitable Finnair facilities to improve energy efficiency. Finnair Technical Operations also installed innovative hatches to prevent unnecessary openings of hangars' doors in the cold wintertime.  

Several creative sustainability ideas were also proposed around digital practices. Green coding, an environmentally sustainable computing approach, aims to reduce the energy consumed in processing lines of code, thereby helping organisations lower their overall energy usage.

In December 2023, our Digital Services & Software Developers participated in a session with our cloud service provider AWS, to explore effective strategies for developing our digital services sustainably. Transitioning to a cloud provider with a core focus on sustainability reduces our carbon footprint. Modern data centers in Europe, designed for energy efficiency and renewable energy use, have helped us in this transition.

Many concrete actions around Circular economy practices

Embracing the principles of the circular economy, Finnair is dedicated to implementing sustainable practices in our material usage. One of the most popular suggestions from our employees was to minimise the use of single-use plastics and cardboard cups in our offices and on our flights. In response, we've replaced cardboard cups with previously used Finnair Business Class chinaware in our offices and enhanced the processes for single-use cup usage on board. Additionally, we've upgraded our recycling processes in some of our facilities, reflecting another small but concrete sustainability action highly advocated for by our team.

Another popular idea among our staff was to improve the recycling efficiency of Finnair uniforms. Starting in early 2023, we have been actively reusing and recycling our cabin and ground crew uniforms. Uniforms in good condition are repurposed for the next user, while those no longer suitable for wear are recycled as raw materials for composite products.

Social sustainability at the heart of our work 

At Finnair, social sustainability is as paramount as our environmental initiatives. We've embraced numerous ideas focused on themes like wellbeing and inclusion. A notable step in this direction was the launch of an anonymous internal praise channel. Throughout the year, the “Praise a Colleague” initiative enabled 1,946 messages of appreciation to be shared among our employees, nurturing a positive and supportive work atmosphere.

In the realm of wellbeing, we've also seen the fruition of a unique collaboration with KARHU, resulting in one of the first sneakers specifically tailored for aviation purposes. These sneakers combine ergonomic design, extra-durable construction, and thermo-resistant materials to ensure comfort and safety, even against hot beverage spills.

Gender equality is another crucial area of focus, and we've reinvigorated our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts with initiatives like the #Girlstakeover campaign in partnership with Plan International Finland.

Recognising the importance of accessibility as a facet of social sustainability, we've introduced the Chabla interpreter service. This service is aimed at enhancing customer service for individuals with hearing loss, ensuring a more inclusive and accessible experience for all our customers.

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