Aerospace & Defense



Airbus Group SE
PO Box 32008
2303 DA Leiden
The Netherlands

Tel: N/A
Fax: N/A
Email: N/A



  • #92 World’s Best Employers 2020 Forbes
  • #439 Global 2000 2020 Forbes




Nicolas Chretien





Report created by Katerina Vargova

Company Title

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Airbus SE, formerly Airbus Group SE, is a company based in the Netherlands that is active in the aerospace and defense industry. The ‘SE’ in the name means it is a Societas Europaea, which enables it to be registered as European rather than Dutch.

As of 2019, Airbus is the world’s largest airliner manufacturer and took the most airliner orders. Airbus is registered in the Netherlands, its shares are traded in France, Germany, and Spain. It designs, manufactures, and sells civil and military aerospace products worldwide and manufactures aircraft in the European Union and various other countries. 

The company operates through three segments: Airbus, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space. The Airbus segment focuses on the development, manufacturing, marketing and sale of commercial jet aircraft and aircraft components, as well as on aircraft conversion and related services.

The Airbus Helicopters segment specializes in the development, manufacturing, marketing and sale of civil and military helicopters, as well as on the provision of helicopter-related services. The Airbus Defence and Space segment produces military combat aircraft and training aircraft, provides defence electronics and global security market solutions, and manufacturers and markets missiles.

The company’s main civil airplane business is conducted through the French company Airbus S.A.S., based in Blagnac, a suburb of Toulouse, with production and manufacturing facilities mostly in Europe (France, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom) but also in China, the United States and Canada.


Company Sustainability Activity

Since its launch in 2008, the Airbus Foundation has coordinated 73 humanitarian flights, delivering over 999 tonnes of aid to over 30 countries and 893 helicopter flight hours have been chartered in 18 countries since 2013.

The Foundation’s humanitarian partners constitute around 80% of disaster response efforts during major disasters. In 2019, the Airbus Foundation coordinated 7 humanitarian flights across 6 countries carrying more than 159 tonnes of aid to the humanitarian community using A330neo and A350 XWB aircraft. Additionally, 350 helicopter flight hours were chartered in 5 countries. 

The support Airbus provided was in response to significant catastrophic events through 2019. For example, Cyclone Idai, which took place in March, was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall in the Bahamas in September, is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. By supporting the emergency response efforts of its partners during such events, the Airbus Foundation continues to be a respected, recognized and ‘in-demand’ partner to the key actors within the humanitarian community.



  • Airbus has 27 satellites in orbit for climate change monitoring
  • Airbus R&D efforts (more than €2 billion annually) focus on aircraft efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions
  • Airbus was the first aircraft manufacturer to be certified under ISO 14001 for all its sites, products and services
  • Around 85% of Airbus employees operate under the framework of ISO 14001
  • Innovative solutions helped Airbus reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14% between 2006 and 2017
  • The innovative use of geothermal energy at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse saves 59,000 MWh of gas each year
  • Airbus has avoided over 10 billion tonnes of CO2 since 1990 through a combination of new technology, operational efficiencies and infrastructural improvements, which includes a $1 trillion investment in 12,200 new aircraft since 2009.


  • By 2050, CO2 emissions will be half of what they were in 2005
  • Reaching carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards, meaning that despite any increases in traffic growth, it would not increase its level of net CO2 emissions
  • 1.5% improvement in fleet fuel efficiency per year
  • Develop the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035


  • Since Airbus’ first generation of commercial jets, fuel and CO2 emissions have been cut by more than 80% per seat kilometre, NOx emissions by 90% and noise by 75%.
  • Climate action plan CORSIA – the first global offsetting scheme with the aim of reaching carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards.
  • Airbus place a high priority on fuel efficiency services to reduce its customers’ fuel burn
  • Reduced its CO2 emissions by 14%
  • Water consumption reduced by 46% 
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions by 60%
  • Between 20036 and 2017, Airbus reduced its non-recyclable waste production by 42%, based on revenue.
  • Airbus achieves 2,1% annual improvement in fuel efficiency (between 2009 and 2020)
  • Airbus and Tarmac Aerosave have established a proven method for decommissioning, dismantling and recycling the entire Airbus aircraft product range in an environmentally responsible way—with up to 90% of aircraft eligible for reuse or recycling. For non-recyclable parts, Airbus focuses on safe disposal. Since 2007, the project has achieved the following results: 517 aircraft stored, 117 aircraft recycled, 92% reuse of remaining parts and 100 engines recycled. 


  • ISO 14001 – certified for all its sites, products and services
  • LEED – Airbus’ final assembly line in Alabama obtained LEED certification
  • BREEAM – Airbus Helicopters’ engineering building received BREEAM certification – the world’s leading sustainability assessment – in part for its 70% energy savings.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDGs Compliance

The following section aligns current company-wide sustainability initiatives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Although not explicitly stated, Airbus has attempted to be compliant with SDGs.


  • Airbus employees have access to a wealth of education and employee mobility opportunities to grow their skills. Airbus supports worldwide sustainable development programmes dedicated to improving access to education for the next generation.
  • Airbus partners with universities, schools and NGOs to increase access to education and to support programmes that inspire passion for aerospace.
  • Airbus Leadership University is a global education network that provides technical and soft skills development to its employees. Its mission is to develop people’s leadership skills by promoting experiential development, connecting them to other Airbus leaders, entrepreneurs and start-ups, and other external leaders to encourage collaboration and open innovation, providing access to a broad portfolio of development programmes, including courses, blended learning solutions, conferences, learning expeditions and more


  • Airbus develops education programmes that promote STEM careers to young women and girls. Airbus reports on the UK and French governments’ Gender Pay Gap initiatives.
  • Airbus workforce unites people from 140 nations, and more than 20 languages are spoken across its sites worldwide. 
  • Aerospace is a historically male-dominated industry. Airbus is committed to changing that. Airbus welcomes people from all backgrounds and strives to increase representation from traditionally underrepresented groups.


  • Airbus global footprint enables them to stimulate inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. It also helps them to promote a zero-tolerance approach to human rights abuses in its operations and across its supply chain.
  • With sites in +180 locations worldwide, Airbus offers a wide range of direct employment opportunities and enables local entrepreneurship through Airbus BizLab, its global network of start-up accelerators. Airbus supports local businesses, which play a key role in its 8,000-strong network of direct suppliers.


  • Airbus develops zero-emission flight projects – from E-Fan X to urban air mobility – to help tackle aircraft CO2 emissions. Airbus also helps foster entrepreneurship and innovation in local communities to develop needs-based products and services.
  • In 2010, Airbus embarked on its electrification journey, developing the world’s first all-electric, four-engine aerobatic aircraft, CriCri. Since then, Airbus has made significant progress in the electrification of flight. Its all-electric, twin-propeller aircraft E-Fan successfully crossed the English Channel in 2015. Its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) demonstrator projects, Vahana and CityAirbus, have completed many hours of rigorous and comprehensive flight testing programmes to ensure safety and high performance. E-Fan X, the successor to E-Fan that is 30-times more powerful than its predecessor, has provided invaluable insights on serial hybrid-electric propulsion.

SDG 12

  • Airbus sets ambitious goals to reduce its manufacturing footprint, promote conservation of resources and better manage the impact of industrial operations. Airbus also works closely with its suppliers to help them comply with its environmental and social commitments.
  • Today, aircraft emit 80% fewer CO2 emissions per seat kilometre than they did 50 years ago. They are also 75% quieter. Airbus invests in R&D to take aircraft performance in fuel efficiency and noise reduction to the next level. Airbus gains valuable data from its end-of-life management processes and integrates these findings back into the design.
  • To mitigate risk within its supply chain, Airbus requires its suppliers to meet the same environmental and social responsibility standards that Airbus set for itself. These standards are clearly outlined in the Supplier Code of Conduct.

SDG 13

  • Airbus works to constantly improve the environmental performance of its products. In addition, its satellites play a key role in monitoring and understanding climate change.
  • Airbus work in electric flight has laid the groundwork for its future zero-emission commercial aircraft known as ZEROe. Airbus is exploring a variety of hybrid-electric and hydrogen technology options.

SDG 16

  • Airbus contributes to safety, stability and prosperity worldwide by developing defence solutions that promote the rule of law, freedom and democratic values. Airbus seeks to ensure that its business practices conform to applicable laws, regulations and ethical business principles.
  • Airbus supports the principles of the UN Global Compact and IFBEC’s Global Principles of Business Ethics which set a benchmark for high ethical standards globally. Airbus is also committed to the FX Global Code, a joint initiative between major central banks and private sectors participants to enhance the integrity of the foreign exchange markets.

SDG 17

  • Airbus believes the key to progress is collaboration. This is why Airbus teams up with its industry peers, foreign governments and ministries, the humanitarian community, and many other global partners to support corporate sustainable development programmes and provide relief when disaster strikes.


Airbus has certificates like LEED and ISO 14001, is listed in Forbes World’s Best Employer. Airbus complies with 8 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Airbus reduces emissions in the long run, invests in new technologies and exceeds some of its 2020 targets, and is on track to achieve other targets. 

Airbus doesn’t have sustainable awards, however, their sustainable agenda is noteworthy. Airbus has been rated a B.

Analyst Outlook: Neutral

Further reading did not reveal any serious problems in the field of Airbus’ sustainability.


Key Points

  • The aviation industry represents approximately 2.5% of global human-induced CO2 emissions
  • The company shows leadership in integrating sustainable solutions into their business
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