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Green Champions - British Airways

Green Champions - British Airways

Green Champions

British Airways

In modern times, most of us have been on an airplane. Air travel has opened up new worlds of business and travel. But fuelling these colossal aircraft can have a negative impact on the environment, and on local communities.

British Airways recognise this, and they were the first airline to actively work to report their environmental performance in an open and honest way.


  • Extensive investment in research and technologies which will cut carbon emissions.
  • Carbon emissions have been reduced by 60 million tonnes since the 1990’s.
  • The company were extensively involved in creating an energy efficient Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport.

Recognising the problems caused by climate change

Every time we get into a car, or take a flight, carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere due to the fact that fossil fuels are burned. The planet is surrounded by an ozone layer of greenhouse gases which maintain it at the right temperature to be able to sustain life. More emissions mean that this layer of gases gets thicker, and the earth’s temperature gets warmer. This is what causes climate change.

Climate Change

What is British Airways doing about it?

Since 1990, BA have improved their fuel efficiency by 28%, which equates to them causing 4 times less emissions. Measures to reduce emissions have included introducing shorter flight routes, improving landing procedures, and fitting lighter weight seats in aircraft.

Recycling and waste management

Waste management is a priority for BA. They aim to reduce waste, or reuse it. The company is committed to recycling, and aims to reduce their reliance on landfill for waste disposal. They are currently looking at incineration and energy recovery, and composting as alternatives to landfill.

They have managed to reduce waste at Gatwick and Heathrow by 9%, and 28% of the solid waste at these airports is recycled. The eventual aim is to recycle 50% of the waste at these airports.

They are looking at ways to maximise recycling, including recycling of packaging and materials used in in-flight catering services, and the recycling of newspapers provided on short-haul flights.

The company has established a global office furniture contract which promotes the re-use and recycling of furniture with the ultimate aim of sending less waste to landfill. All offices now also use recycled paper.

Air Quality

The company recognises the obvious impact that their operations can have on air quality, and have been involved in various reports and projects to reduce emissions.

At Heathrow Airport, the company has a Local Air Quality Key Performance Indicator which enables them to calculate emissions released when their aircraft are flying at below 1000ft.

Heathrow Airport

Making a difference at home

The British Airways Community Learning Centre teaches children about the environment in the park land close to their head office. Schools in the local area can explore and learn about habitats like meadows, rivers, and woodland.

The park land is called Harmondsworth country park, and it is made up of 240 acres of land that was neglected for many years, until British Airways and other 3 other companies took on its maintenance. Now it is host to many diverse species of flora and fauna, and it’s open to the public.

Making a difference globally

As well as its environmental efforts at home, the company also helps global causes. Their Community Relations programme has assisted community and conservation programmes around the world since 1984.

In 2006 British Airways won The Travel & Leisure Global Vision Award “In recognition of an organisation that is defending the cultural, ecological and historic treasures of the traveller’s world”.

The company supports the Ugandan Conservation Foundation, which works on protecting wildlife, natural crops and resources, and local communities.

The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund is another project that BA supports. The organisation protects mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congo.

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