Alaska Airlines today announced its commitment and roadmap to reduce the company’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2040, and commitments across carbon, waste, and water impacts by 2025. Today’s announcement included the release of Alaska’s 2020 LIFT Sustainability Report detailing the company’s broader climate change strategy, including waste and water initiatives.
Alaska, together with its regional subsidiary Horizon Air, identified the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as the company’s most important opportunity for environmental action.
Alaska’s roadmap to 2040 includes five focus areas to reach net-zero emissions:
- Fleet renewal
- Operational efficiency
- Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
- Novel propulsion
- Credible, high-quality carbon offsetting technology
With a recent Boeing 737 MAX order, Alaska’s newest aircraft have 22% better fuel-efficiency on a seat-by-seat basis than the aircraft they replace. Alaska is a leader in using advanced technology to improve flight efficiency, and will continue to standardize best practices, and expand use of first-of-its-kind artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to plan optimize routes. As part of its near-term goals, the airline will cut in half emissions of its ground services equipment by 2025 through the purchase and use of electric ground equipment and other renewables.
Long-term plans for achieving net-zero emissions include expanding the market for SAF and exploring and advancing novel propulsion approaches that support electrification technology for regional flying, that are either not dependent on fossil fuels, or more efficient than current methods. And because aviation is one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonize, Alaska will also work with science and technical advisory Carbon Direct to identify and vet credible, high-quality carbon offsetting technologies to close any remaining gaps on the path to net-zero.
“After a difficult year, this is an exciting time for our company, as we return to growth while embedding sustainability even deeper in our culture, set bold goals and collaborate with innovative partners to keep our company, our communities, and our environment strong and healthy for the long term,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of public affairs and sustainability. “The pandemic sharpened the clarity of our purpose and led us a stronger path forward. But we also know we can’t do this alone and that we must work together with government, manufacturers, innovators and other industry partners to decarbonize aviation.”
Joining the Amazon Climate Pledge
As a result of its 2040 net-zero emissions strategy, Alaska Airlines today signed onto The Climate Pledge, a commitment to achieving net-zero-carbon 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.
In addition, the company also announced five-year goals to reduce waste through more sustainable packaging and restarting industry-leading inflight recycling post-COVID, while offsetting 100% of its operational water use through investments in high-quality habitat projects.
22,000 employees engaged to help reduce climate impact
As a reflection of its importance, Alaska Airlines this year included a carbon emissions target in the incentive pay program for all 22,000 employees. Additionally, long-term executive compensation is now linked to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX 9 N913AK (msn 44079) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 953062.
Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show: