Finnair Environmental History: Major Green Milestones
We've put together a recent 10-year history of Finnair's outstanding results in the area of environmental responsibility and surfaced the green initiatives that have cemented Finnair as a climate change leader in aviation.
2016: Finnair becomes part of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)
The scheme, brought to fruition by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is the result of an agreement between 191 countries to support carbon-neutral growth. In the scheme, airlines will have to purchase carbon credits to offset for their emissions. A pilot phase will begin in 2021 with 65 countries, and in 2027 participation by most nations will become mandatory.
2016: Finnair awarded ‘Prime’ status in the 2016 Corporate Responsibility Review of OEKOM Research, a sustainability rating organisation.
Finnair's Prime status (2017 annual report) is a strong indication for investors that investing in Finnair means investing sustainably. Finnair was the global leader in the logistics sector.
2016: Finnair boasts the smallest carbon footprint of 20 major airlines
A recent study of greenhouse gas emissions produced by 20 of the world’s biggest airlines has found Finnair to to the least polluting carriers.
The study, by Warwick Business School, conducted from 2007 to 2014 revealed that Finnair had the smallest carbon footprint, with TAP Portugal and Virgin Australia making up the top three.
According to research chief, Frederik Dahlmann, “Finnair performed best due to the age and type of its planes, the routes it flies and the overall number of connections it offers. Plus it is probably among the most advanced when it comes to accounting for and managing its emissions over time.
2016: Finnair named Nordic leader in climate change information transparency
Finnair is the leading Nordic airline for the quality of climate change-related information it discloses to investors and the global marketplace through CDP, the international not-for-profit that drives sustainable economies.
As a result of its information transparency, Finnair is awarded a position on the Nordic Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), which comprises organisations that have scored within the top 10% in the region. Finnair's score was 99 out of 100. The score was achieved by disclosing high-quality carbon emissions and energy data through CDP’s climate change programme. The reported data has been independently assessed against CDP’s scoring methodology.
2015: Finnair awarded prestigious certification in IATA’s Environmental Assessment programme
Finnair is the first airline in Europe and one of only two global carriers to be certified a Stage 2 operator in the IEnvA programme, an environmental management system designed to independently assess and improve an airline’s environmental management.
Finnair has set ambitious environmental performance targets for its operations:
- 40% reduction of anti-icing fluid usage in 2014–2016
- 20% reduction of CO2 emissions in 2009–2017
- 10% reduction of energy usage in corporate facilities in 2007–2016
- 10% decrease of the non-EU waste/passenger in 2014–2016
- 40% noise reduction in 2014–2017.
IEnvA Stage 1 — which Finnair reached in June 2013 along with a small pilot group of other airlines — ensures an airline has developed the foundation and framework for its environmental management system. Stage 1 also certifies an airline has identified and complied with its environmental legal requirements.
IEnvA Stage 2 — This ensures that an airline has implemented all of the IEnvA Standards, identified and mitigated its significant environmental impacts and has set performance targets. Stage 2 also certifies that an airline has developed processes for monitoring and reviewing its performance against its targets and objectives, thus driving environmental efficiency.
The environmental standards that underpin IEnvA are based on recognised environmental management system (EMS) principles (such as ISO 14001) and have been developed by a joint team of environmental consultants and airline experts, including some Finnair personnel.
Airline assessments — including Finnair’s — are undertaken by independent accredited Environmental Assessment Organisations that have demonstrated competencies in aviation and environmental auditing.
2015: Finnair becomes the first European airline to add the the new-generation fuel-efficient A350 aircraft to its fleet.
The fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of the A350 are 25% lower than existing aircraft in the Finnair fleet and flight noise levels are significantly lower. With its more spacious lower deck cargo bay, the A350 fleet expansion also increases cargo capacity by 16-20% per route.
Studies indicate that 95 percent of environmental improvement is generated by fleet renewal, and airlines have only 5 percent room for improvement in other areas.
The decision to replace its current fleet with new, eco-friendly aircraft is the most significant action Finnair can take to reduce carbon, noise and other impacts.
2014: Finnair updates and improves its online emissions calculator in line with new recommendations from the International Air Transport Association
Last year Finnair Cargo took a pioneering step with the launch of its new emissions calculator. This online tool provides customers with easy access to verifiable data on carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions generated by shipments carried by Finnair based on the actual fuel consumption and load of each individual flight.
The calculator is a perpetual “work in progress” and is updated regularly based on the latest expert guidelines and operational changes such as freighter routing changes or subcontracting of certain transport services.
In 2014 Finnair Cargo modified the tool to fall in line with a new recommended practice adopted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The new RP was developed by IATA’s Air Cargo Carbon Footprint (ACCF) working group to help IATA member airlines measure the CO2 emissions generated by air cargo at shipment level. Finnair and 16 other airlines from various regions were represented in the working group.
Having one common international standard for air cargo helps airlines, freight forwarders, shippers, regulators and all other parties align. Without an emissions calculator, airlines can spend considerable time answering individual questionnaires and calculating CO2 emissions using different reporting methods dictated by customers.
2013: Finnair launches emissions calculator for customers to track ecological impact
To better serve freight forwarders, who are often asked to provide emissions figures to manufacturers and other clients, Finnair Cargo has come out with a new online carbon emissions calculator.
The calculator takes into account carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and mono-nitrogen oxide generated by a Finnair shipment’s entire transportation chain. The calculations include emissions from Finnair’s flights as well as transportation by land and water, if applicable.
The calculator allows freight forwarders to plug in selected months and access emissions information on each of their shipments from that time period. Forwarding companies can then pass on these figures to clients who require them in their own reporting.
The tool is being launched because customers want to know more than just the number of kilometres a product travels, but also the total emissions generated by a service. Companies have begun to report not only the waste they themselves generate, but also on the ways in which subcontractor services add to their environmental loads.
Finnair Cargo has previously operated an online CO2 calculator that provides customers with an estimate of emissions on certain routes and is updated quarterly with new fuel consumption data. However, this is the first time that customers can take a look at shipment-specific emissions.
2013: Single European Sky brings long-term savings in costs and fuel consumption
As aircraft in the sky over Europe has rapidly grown, so too has the need for a more streamlined, logical and efficient air traffic management framework. The Single European Sky is an initiative intended to achieve that. It is being implemented during 2013, but the process will not be complete until 2020.
The centralisation of air traffic management across Europe will mean shorter, more direct air routes, doing away with, or at least harmonising, obstructive national restrictions. This ought to be good news for customers, including cargo customers, since it will help airlines to optimise their punctuality, although Finnair’s base, Helsinki, is already ahead of the game in this respect.
The Single European Sky air traffic management system will save fuel and thus lower emissions. It will also save time and money. The development is an important part of the environmental work being done in the aviation sector, along with operative measures, technological advances and market-based actions. It represents a crucial infrastructural improvement.
2013: Finnair takes delivery of Airbus A321s with Sharklets for better fuel efficiency and fewer emissions
Finnair has become the first airline in the world to operate Airbus A321 aircraft equipped with new, fuel-saving Sharklet wingtip devices (Watch on youtube). The extended-range, single-aisle aircraft, which has the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprint in its class, will be quieter and more comfortable for passengers than the older planes it replaces, as well as about 7% more fuel efficient per seat.
Representing a substantial reduction in costs and CO2 emissions, the aircraft is the first of five orders for the A321 with Sharklets, with another two expected to enter the fleet later this year and the remainder due in the first half of 2014.
The five A321s with Sharklets will replace Finnair’s four Boeing 757s that have been used mainly for leisure and charter flights, enabling more flexibility and interoperability between European scheduled and leisure flights.
2012 Finnair is first-ever airline to feature in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Leadership Index
Finnair achieved an excellent score in the 2012 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Nordic Report, earning a rating of 92 out of 100, making it one of the annual survey’s top environmentally-conscientious companies as well as the first airline ever to place in the CDP’s Leadership Index.
Finnair was commended for its efforts to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve reporting capabilities, and recognise the strategic business risks and possibilities associated with climate change.
The CDP is an independent, not-for-profit NGO that assists companies in setting reduction targets and making performance improvements. It is the operator of the world’s only global climate change reporting system that gathers data on behalf of 655 institutional investors globally representing in excess of US $78 trillion in assets.
More than 4,000 organizations in 72 countries measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, water management and climate change strategies through the CDP.
2011: Finnair’s biofuel flight from Amsterdam to Helsinki is world-first
With its flight from Amsterdam to Helsinki on 20 July 2011, Finnair made history with the world’s longest commercial biofuel flight using fuel processed from used cooking oil.
The fuel mix was developed by SkyNRG, a Dutch group of which KLM Airlines is also part, and complies with a recently approved international standard that restricts the component of biofuel to 50%.
Biofuels cost three times as much as ordinary jet fuel and fuel already represents a quarter of airline costs. Yet IATA predicts that biofuels could cut the aviation industry’s carbon footprint by 80%.
Finnair is searching for a fuel solution that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.
2011: Finnair commended for its efforts to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by leading global assessor
In The Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2011 Nordic Report Finnair scored higher than any other airline in the Nordic region, earning a score of 76 out of 100; a strong improvement over its 2010 score of 61.
The CDP commended Finnair for its efforts to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve reporting capabilities, and recognise the strategic business risks associated with climate change.
A score greater than 70 puts a company in the “high” category of climate change-aware firms. In such companies, the report explains, “senior management understand the business issues related to climate change and are building climate related risks and opportunities into core business.”
The CDP report singled out Finnair for its leadership on biofuels and for its travel agencies’ significant emissions reductions.
2010: In one year Finnair offices reduced paper consumption by 11%
Between 2009 and 2010, Finnair’s offices cut down on their paper consumption by 11 per cent. In 2010, Finnair also generated 4.5 per cent less waste than the previous year. During the previous year paper consumption fell by 18%.
2009: Finnair cuts carbon dioxide emissions per seat by 22% since 1999
By 2017, Finnair intends to reduce this number by another 24 per cent. It means that total reductions per seat from 1999 to 2017 will be as much as 41 per cent.
2009: Finnair commits to reducing emissions by 24% by 2017
Since the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen in 2009 Finnair has been part of the Aviation Global Deal Group and has committed to reducing its emissions by 24% by 2017.
The basic mechanism proposed by the AGD Group is a global agreement covering carbon dioxide emissions from all international air transport providers. Net emissions reductions will be achieved by setting a global emissions reduction target for the sector and allocating allowances to airlines, which they can top up through the purchase of carbon credits.
The AGD Group’s members are the international NGO The Climate Group, Air France/KLM, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia, airport operator BAA, Finnair, LOT Polish Airlines and Qatar Airways.