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Heathrow’s refreshed sustainability strategy will help it build back better


Heathrow today unveiled a refreshed sustainability strategy, which it says will play a key role in its development over the decade ahead.

It says that ‘Heathrow 2.0: Connecting People and Planet’ outlines how it will build back better with sustainability front of mind as the UK and aviation industry emerges from the pandemic and ramps up to recovery.

The 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.

It says that the programme of work builds on its 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, it states that its 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.

It notes that the UK government will need to work in tandem with it to support the delivery of Heathrow 2.0 by injecting pace into their Sustainable 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 it claims will “minimise noise and improve local air quality” and lead to more being invested local communities to enable its neighbours to share in the benefits and success of having the UK’s Hub on their doorstep.

The airport insists that its 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.

Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, says: “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.”

He believes that the airport is already delivering against the goals of the plan, with Heathrow this morning announcing an extension of the London Living Wage, illustrating its great place to work credentials.

The airport notes that it already pays at least this rate to directly employed staff, and this latest development ensures everyone working in the airport’s direct supply chain will be guaranteed to earn at least the London Living Wage from the start of April 2022. It is anticipated that at least 1300 airport employees will benefit from the move.

The UK hub 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.

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 one million residents

And 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

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