Heathrow launches sustainability strategy for next 10 years

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London Heathrow Airport has released its plan for the decade ahead with a refreshed sustainability strategy – Heathrow 2.0: Connecting People and Planet – which includes cutting ‘in the air carbon’ by up to 15% and reducing ‘on the ground carbon’ emissions by at least 45%, compared with 2019 levels.

Over the next 10 years, Heathrow will also maximize the repurposing of materials used at the airport to move towards producing zero waste. Heathrow will establish an airside ultra-low emission zone by 2025. During this period, the airport will work to reduce the areas affected by noise, introduce new alternation patterns and increase nights without aircraft relative to 2019.

The airport has committed to introducing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) incentives for airlines, to encourage its partners to reduce their carbon footprints, and will also develop a “nature positive airport plan” to continue to strengthen and showcase biodiversity management at the airport. Heathrow has also launched its sustainable travel zone, a network of subsidized travel routes to and from the airport to encourage staff and passengers to take public transport, in order to reduce congestion on local roads and improve local air quality.

The airport is to introduce measures that will improve local air quality and invest more in the airport’s local communities. For example, Heathrow will launch its Giving Back Program which will detail Heathrow’s community investment strategy and volunteering programs that will affect at least 1,000,000 million residents. Alongside this, Heathrow will generate at least £6.5m (US$8.8m) in funds for the independent Heathrow Community Trust charity.

The objectives set out in Heathrow 2.0 are the result of consultation with local and national stakeholders. The airport has called upon the government to support the delivery of Heathrow 2.0 by speeding up sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) policymaking 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.

The airport’s strategy will also work to create an inclusive and diverse workplace. To do this, it will provide 10,000 external jobs, apprenticeships and early career opportunities for local people and provide 15,000 experiences of the workplace. This approach is intended to ensure diversity levels within all rungs of the leadership ladder reflect the diversity levels of its local community.

Heathrow has also announced an extension of the London Living Wage. Though the airport currently pays this rate to directly employed staff, this latest development will ensure that everyone working in Heathrow’s direct supply chain will be guaranteed to earn at least the London Living Wage from the start of April 2022. When it comes into effect, around 1,300 employees at the airport will experience a wage boost and the move will put a collective £4.5m (US$6.1m) extra into the pay packets of staff at direct suppliers.

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 emissions 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 of the Living Wage Foundation, said, “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 spiraling 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.”

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