QANTAS last month laid out an accelerated plan to reduce its carbon footprint, including a new interim target to reduce its overall emissions by 25% over the next seven years. The ambitious milestone is part of a new Qantas Group Climate Action Plan, with CEO Alan Joyce saying that with Australia’s reliance on aviation “having a clear plan to decarbonise Qantas and Jetstar so we can keep delivering these services in the decades ahead is absolutely key to our future”.
The overall strategy envisions an increasing use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) within the group’s fuel mix, with a 10% target for 2030 rising to about 60% by 2050. Waste reduction strategies will see zero single-use plastics within the group’s operations by 2027, and zero general waste to landfill by 2030.
The carrier aims to increase fuel efficiency by 1.5% each year through to 2030, achieved through fleet renewal and more efficient flight planning. Qantas will also continue research into new technologies such as hydrogen and battery power, while carbon offsets, particularly through investment into key Australian projects, will also be key to achieving the goals.
“We’ve had a zero net emissions goal for several years, so [the new] interim targets are about accelerating our progress and cutting emissions as quickly as technology allows,” Joyce said. “Hydrogen or electric powered aircraft are several decades away, particularly for the length of most flights, so our plan is focused on the technology that is within reach today,” he added.
The Qantas Group has committed an initial $50 million towards the establishment of an Australia-based SAF industry, and is calling on all levels of government to also lend support so that biofuel supply can be from local production. The company is already using SAF sourced from overseas, including on flights from London and California.
The release of the Qantas Climate Action Plan came alongside a new Memorandum of Understanding with ANZ Bank and energy company Inpex for a “major integrated reforestation and carbon farming project in Western Australia’s wheatbelt region. The project will see marginal farming land replanted with sustainable, drought-resistant native plant species with the aim of improving the environment and generating Australian carbon credits to help offset future carbon footprints. Longer term the project may also provide a potential source for SAF production using cut back mallee trees.
Effective immediately climate change considerations are being integrated into the Qantas Group’s financial framework, with performance-based targets linked to executive remuneration from the 2022/23 financial year onwards.