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Finnair’s anti-carbon program lifts the ambition-level in the aviation industry


Finnair has revealed the most ambitious sustainability strategy in the aviation industry to banish carbon from its operations. Finnair intends to reduce its net emissions by 50% by the end of 2025 from the 2019 baseline and achieve carbon neutrality latest by 2045. The plans clearly exceed the industry’s common targets.

The new strategy includes a holistic approach to transform Finnair’s operations to bring the company’s climate footprint dramatically down. The main actions to tackle the carbon challenge are:  

  • A 3.5-4.0 billion euro investment in fleet during 2020–2025, reducing emissions in Finnair’s European traffic by 10–15%, as announced earlier in Finnair capital markets day.
  • Investing 60 million euros in sustainability during the strategy period of 2020–2025.
  • Reduction of weight onboard every flight, including ending in-flight travel retail sales within EU on April 29 and focusing on pre-order travel retail.
  • Driving operational efficiencies to improve the fuel efficiency of every flight.
  • New partnership with Neste to increase the use of sustainable aviation fuels in Finnair operations.
  • Offsetting carbon emissions of corporate customers’ flights.
  • Inviting customers to make sustainable choices and matching their offsetting and biofuel contributions with biofuel.
  • Reducing single-use plastics by 50% by the end of 2022.
  • Reducing food waste in catering operations by 50% by the end of 2022.

Finnair is also taking sustainability fully into its DNA, proposing to the Finnair Annual General Meeting an amendment into the Articles of Association, to allow Finnair to engage in activities that increase the positive effects and reduce the negative effects of our business on the environment and society.

“Aviation is a fast-paced industry subject to many changes, and everything impacts it. Maintaining a long-term perspective at all times, in all market situations is key. The plans we announced today prepare us for the next 100 years of Finnair’s future”, says Topi Manner, Finnair CEO. “Our number one goal is to reduce our own CO2 emissions by investing in new aircraft technology, by flying fuel-efficiently, by decreasing aircraft weight and by increasing the use of sustainable aviation fuels. We are also investing in innovation and research to create future solutions that support our long-term target of carbon neutrality.”

As announced on Finnair’s capital market day in November, Finnair is committed to investing 3.5–4.0 billion euro into the renewal and growth of its fleet in 2020–2025. This significant change will reduce CO2 emissions in Finnair’s European traffic by 10-15 %. It is also foreseeable that significant investments will be required beyond 2025.

On top of this, Finnair will invest 60 million euros towards its new Sustainability strategy during the strategy period (2020–2025). This investment is in addition to the mandatory EU ETS and other environment related payments, that amounted to over 35 million euro last year.

Finnair has also entered an ambitious partnership with Finland-based Neste, the world’s largest producer of sustainable aviation fuels refined from waste. The partnership will not only increase Finnair’s use of sustainable aviation fuel, but it will also boost the production of sustainable aviation fuel in Finland, an important step in making sustainable aviation fuels more widely used and affordable for Finnair and other airlines.

Managing weight and fuel is key in reducing the CO2 emissions from Finnair flight operations. Finnair has developed a plan to reduce unnecessary weight from each aircraft, and to operate flights more fuel efficiently. The target is to reduce fuel consumption by 15 000 tonnes per year. As a part of this, as of April 29, 2020, Finnair will remove travel retail sales from its short-haul European fleet and focus on pre-orders, reducing on average 50-100 kg from each flight, resulting in a total decrease of 70 000 kg in fuel consumption per year and 220 000 kg of CO2 emissions.

Finnair engages its customers on the journey towards carbon neutrality and will offset the CO2 emissions of its corporate customers as of September 1, 2020. Finnair will also encourage its consumer customers to make sustainable choices by introducing new ticket types that allow customers to support biofuel purchases or offsetting initiatives later this year and will match customer’s contribution with biofuel purchases.

An international approach is needed to reach Finnair’s ambitious targets, and EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the global carbon reduction and offsetting scheme for international aviation CORSIA are elemental in halving Finnair’s net emissions by 2025.

Finnair will also remove 230 tonnes of plastic from its flights, cutting the use of single use plastics in half by the end of 2022. In 2019, Finnair already removed 80 000 kg of plastic through increased recycling and smarter material choices. Next, Finnair will replace plastic cutlery from economy cabin dining with more sustainable knives, forks and spoons, thus reducing a further 53 tonnes of plastic from its flights per year.

To counter CO2 generated by meat production and to cater to changing tastes, Finnair will also be introducinmore vegetarian meal options for customers during 2020. Action will also be taken to reduce food waste in catering operations by 50% by the end of 2022.

On the ground, further measures will be taken to use renewable energy in the airline’s non-flight operations, such as in vehicles and in real estate energy consumption. These measures are calculated to achieve carbon neutrality for Finnair’s non-flight operations by 2022.

“The ambitious targets we have announced today are achievable through the tangible steps we’ve described which we know will make a real contribution to CO2 reduction,” says Anne Larilahti, Vice President of Sustainability at Finnair. “By working together with our customers, partners and our employees we can embrace this challenge with confidence. We want to encourage innovation and engagement, from our customers to our staff to our supply chain to show Finnair can lead the way to make a real difference.”
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About Finnair

Finnair is a modern premium network airline, specialising in passenger and cargo traffic between Asia and Europe. Helsinki’s geographical location gives Finnair a competitive advantage, since the fastest connections between many European destinations and Asian megacities fly over Finland. Finnair is the only Nordic network carrier with a 4-star Skytrax ranking and a member of the oneworld alliance. In 2019, Finnair’s revenues amounted to EUR 3,098 million and it carried over 14.7 million passengers. Finnair Plc’s shares are quoted on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.


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