Transportation and Logistics
Emirates Group Headquarters,
PO Box 686
Tel: +44 3448002777
- #39 World’s Best Employers 2020
CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER
- 2020 Airline with Best Cabin Crew
- 2020 Airline with the Best First Class
- 2020 Best Airport Lounge in the Middle East
- 2020 Best Airline Worldwide
- 2019 World’s Leading Cabin Crew
Report created by Elspeth Weiss
Emirates is an international airline and the largest airline in the United Arab Emirates. It is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group which is owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Both dnata and Emirates fall under the same management within The Emirates Group.
Emirates’ headquarters are based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and they serve 155 airports in 81 countries. They have a fleet size of 270 airplanes which flew 56 million passengers in 2019-2020.
Emirates was developed in 1984 when Sir Maurice Flanagan, then managing director of dnata, was asked to look into starting an airline by the UAE Minister of Defense. In 1992 Emirates became the first airline to put video systems into each seat of all cabin classes in their fleet. They are known for being an innovative and luxurious airline to travel with.
Company Sustainability Activity
Emirates sustainability endeavors focus on three main areas: reducing emissions, consuming responsibly, and preserving wildlife habitats.
With regards to reducing emissions, Emirate operates modern and fuel-efficient aircrafts to reduce their environmental impact. They look to optimize flight plans and fuel uplift to reduce emissions.
Their consuming responsible efforts are seen in their dedication to eradicating single-use plastics. They have shifted away from any single-use plastic water bottles for their employees and in their lounges.
The Emirates Flight Catering also focuses on food waste initiatives, like using as much of an ingredient as possible and repurposing leftover food. They also upcycled old billboards in South Africa to make school bags to donate to local students. This has now been replicated in Nigeria.
Emirates’ efforts to preserve wildlife and habitats are seen as they are combating illegal wildlife trade with their zero-tolerance policy for carrying banned species, hunting trophies, or products associated with illegal wildlife activities. To support this, they started an illegal wildlife trade awareness course for their team, and 2600 employees have completed it so far.
They have also been supporting the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve for 20 years, where they work to track, maintain, and reintroduce native wildlife species. The Emirates Wolgan Valley in Australia works on conservation through habitat restoration, creating a seed bank with over one million seeds, and evacuating animals during bushfires.
- By optimizing flight plans and fuel uplift they saved an estimated 38,000 tonnes of fuel, reducing their carbon emissions by 120,000 tonnes.
- Their fuel efficiency program investigates and implements ways to reduce unnecessary fuel burning and emissions. This improved passenger fuel efficiency by 1.9%.
- Since June 2019, over 100 million single-use plastic pieces have been removed from Emirates aircrafts, and have diverted close to 15 million pieces of plastic from landfills with just getting rid of salt and pepper covers, plastic menu bags, and plastic wrapping for toys.
- By using more of each piece of food and reusing food for different purposes, they save close to 500 kilograms of food each day.
Emirates does not disclose any targets related to sustainability at the moment.
Emirates has focused on improving its aircraft consumption, fuel efficiency, and carbon efficiency. From 2018-2020 they show how their figures have changed.
- Jet fuel consumption reduced by 6.1%
- Nitrogen oxide emissions reduced by 7.1%
- Carbon monoxide emissions reduced by 7.4%
- Unburnt hydrocarbon emissions reduced by 8.2%
- Electricity consumption reduced by 4%
- Diesel for vehicle and ground service equipment dropped 2.4%
- Petrol for vehicle and ground service equipment dropped 11%
- Total water consumption dropped 1.5%
- Material recycled increased by 12.3%
- Total energy consumption dropped by 6%
Emirates does not hold any certificates related to sustainability at the moment.
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, Emirates has attempted to be compliant with the SDGs.
- Emirates had the first flight with fully vaccinated frontline workers
- Upcycling old billboards in South Africa and Nigeria to make school bags to donate to local students.
- On Emirati Women’s Day, Emirates operated flights with all-female crews to 5 continents.
- From 2018-2020 Emirate’s total water consumption dropped by 1.5%.
- By reducing their food waste they are reducing excess water use.
- Their crew is made up of people from over 160 nations.
- Eradication of single-use plastic
- Optimizing flight plums and fuel uplift
- Reducing food waste
- Reducing jet fuel, electricity, energy, and water consumption
- Reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and unburnt hydrocarbon
- Reducing diesel and petrol use for vehicle and ground service equipment
- Recycling more of their materials
Although Emirates does have some initiatives and projects aimed at being more sustainable, their negative impacts on the environment far outweigh their positive ones. They are part of the aviation and transportation industry which is known to be one of the most environmentally degrading sectors.
Emirates has no awards directly related to sustainability as well as no certificates or labels to give their efforts credibility. They do report their environmental impacts but do not delve deeply into how these numbers are being reached. As a large corporation with sustainability initiatives, it is shocking to note that they do not report any targets and goals for future endeavors.
There is also no aligning of initiatives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which shows their lack of commitment to being sustainable.
Emirates’ existence in the transportation industry along with their lack of certificates and relevant awards show their current state of unsustainability. The fact that they do not publish any targets, align their current efforts with the UN SDGs, and are still increasing in harmful outputs show a negative look for their future. These are why Emirates received a “D” rating.
Analyst Outlook: Neutral
Despite acknowledging the need for sustainability, Emirates’ does show multiple areas of improvement. However, the company still struggles to improve in certain areas. For example, their aviation gasoline use increased by 275%, and their waste and landfill inputs have increased by 21.3%
- Work to reduce emissions by optimizing flight plans and fuel uplift
- Aim to consume responsibly by ending their use of single use plastics, implementing food waste initiatives, and upcycling old billboards
- Push to preserve wildlife habitats by combating illegal wildlife trade and supporting the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and the Emirates Wolgan Valley in Australia
- No targets, certificates, labels, or environmentally focused awards
- They do not align their efforts with the UN SDGs