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Heathrow launches refreshed sustainability strategy

The Heathrow Observer

February 23, 2022.

After the most difficult two years in its history, Heathrow has released its plan for the decade ahead with a refreshed sustainability strategy - Heathrow 2.0: Connecting People and Planet. The programme of work outlines how the airport will rebuild with sustainability front of mind, as the nation and aviation industry emerges from the pandemic and ramps up to recovery.

The airport’s plan sets out an ambitious series of goals over the next decade to tackle the growing climate emergency, decarbonise flight and continue to improve the area around the airport for those who live and work in it.

The programme of work builds on Heathrow’s previous sustainability strategy launched five years ago, this time offering a streamlined framework divided into two leadership pillars of work, targeting net zero aviation and ensuring Heathrow is a great place to live and work. The objectives set out in Heathrow 2.0 are the result of consultation with local and national stakeholders. Achieving these goals will enable the airport to remain a sustainable employer for future generations and protect the benefits of aviation in a world without carbon.

To keep the airport on track to deliver net zero aviation by 2050, Heathrow’s ambition is to ensure 2019 was the year of peak carbon at the airport. To deliver on this commitment, our goal is to reduce carbon from flights by up to 15% compared with 2019 and to cut at least 45% of on the ground carbon emissions by 2030. Government will need to work in tandem with the airport to support the delivery of Heathrow 2.0 by injecting pace into their Sustaintable Aviation Fuel (SAF) policy making and supporting the airport’s case for a regulatory settlement from the Civil Aviation Authority, which enables the necessary investment to achieve the commitments set out in this plan.

Heathrow is introducing measures which will minimise noise, improve local air quality and invest more in the airport’s local communities to enable our closest neighbours to share in the benefits and success of having the UK’s Hub on their doorstep. The airport’s sustainability strategy is also resolute in its commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace, with colleague wellbeing placed at the heart of the business’ priorities, providing everyone with the tools to thrive at Heathrow.

The airport is already delivering against the goals of the plan, with Heathrow today announcing an extension of the London Living Wage, illustrating its great place to work credentials. Heathrow already pays at least this rate to directly employed staff, and this latest development ensures everyone working in Heathrow’s direct supply chain will be guaranteed to earn at least the London Living Wage from the start of April. At least 1300 of employees at the airport will benefit from the wage boost when it comes into effect and the move will put nearly over £4.5million extra into the pay packets of staff at direct suppliers including Mitie and Apcoa.

Heathrow has also announced the launch of its Sustainable Travel Zone, a network of subsidised travel routes to and from the airport to make it more attractive for colleagues and passengers to take public transport, reducing congestion on local roads and improving local air quality.

Image - Kevan James

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s Chief Executive said: “The launch of our refreshed Heathrow 2.0 strategy is a landmark moment in our sustainability journey, one which accelerates the shift in our industry towards a greener future. Decisive action needs to be taken this decade to remain on track for net zero and 2.0 sets out the roadmap to get us there. Not only will we cut carbon, but our ambitious strategy will maintain Heathrow’s leadership in innovation, social mobility and community engagement.”

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation added: “We are delighted that Heathrow has extended their payment of the London Living Wage to now include everyone within Heathrow’s direct supply chain. Heathrow’s move will provide a stable and secure rate that will ensure over 1,300 workers and their families earn what they need to get by. In the backdrop of rising costs of living and spiralling inflation, this extra financial buffer will prove even more important.

"As we redefine what good business looks like in the wake of the pandemic and in the face of new economic uncertainty, we are thrilled to see forward-looking employers like Heathrow, and the over 9,000 other Living Wage Employers, leading the way in how they support their staff. We all ought to earn enough to support our lives, and I would encourage any business able to do so to consider accrediting with the Living Wage Foundation.”

In 2022, Heathrow 2.0 commits the airport to:

  • In a UK airport first, introduce a Sustainable Aviation Fuel based incentives programme for airlines, encouraging our partners to invest in SAF, reduce their carbon footprint and help to hit our carbon reduction targets

  • Develop a Nature Positive Airport Plan to continue to strengthen and showcase biodiversity management at the airport

  • Launch a new Giving Back Programme detailing Heathrow’s community investment strategy and volunteering programmes that will benefit at least 1 million residents

Over this decade, Heathrow 2.0 commits the airport to:

  • Set industry-leading carbon targets, committing to cut ‘in the air carbon’ by up to 15% compared with 2019 levels and reducing ‘on the ground carbon’ emissions by at least 45% compared with 2019 levels

  • Maximise the materials used at the airport that are repurposed, moving Heathrow towards becoming Zero Waste

  • Introduce an airside ultra-low emission zone by 2025.

  • Generate at least £6.5m in funds for the independent Heathrow Community Trust charity

  • Reduce areas affected by noise, introduce new alternation patterns, and increase nights without aircraft relative to 2019

  • Provide 10,000 external jobs, apprenticeships and early career opportunities for local people

  • Provide 15,000 experiences of the workplace

  • Ensure diversity levels within all rungs of the leadership ladder reflect the diversity levels of our local community

Graphic - Heathrow Airport Ltd


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