Let’s leave a better world for our children....
The Earth is a closed system. Its resources are defined, but there are huge demands on it. We can’t create another earth. What we can do is protect, manage and sustain the available, limited resources and reduce the impact on the environment to leave a better world for the coming generations.
Businesses, however large or small, are accountable not only for their financial performance and profitability but also for the impact of their activities on environment and the society. Aviation is one of the businesses that have been long-identified as having a direct impact on the environment and society.
Aviation and the Environment
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that aviation may contribute around 3.5% of the total contribution of human activities to global warming. An International Air Transport Association (IATA) report says aviation is responsible for only 2% of global CO2 emissions and by 2050 will represent 3%.
However, aviation has been unfairly labelled as a big polluter and there is not much of an understanding of this issue. Yet, globally, aviation companies, have already started addressing this issue and have made significant progress thus far.
Thanks to modern technology, today’s aircraft flies 3 times farther on the same amount of fuel. New technologies are expected to be at least 50% more fuel efficient than today. The environmental track record of the industry is good: over the last four decades we have reduced noise by 75%, eliminated soot and improved fuel efficiency by 70%. And the billions being invested in new aircraft will make our fleet 25% more fuel efficient by 2020. (IATA)
Gulf Air and Corporate Social Responsibility
As an international airline and a responsible corporate entity, Gulf Air recognizes that social, economic and environmental responsibilities are integral to its business and believes in the importance of the inter-relationship with the local community and the environment in which it operates.
With footprints across four continents, Gulf Air is committed to actively engage in tackling environmental challenges individually and collectively, and thus play a positive role in protecting the environment and help build a better future for our children, the local community.
Therefore, in September 2008, Gulf Air launched a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility strategy focusing on three key areas: climate change and clean air, waste management, and community service.
Developed in consultation with external partners including Boeing and IATA, the integrated programme of research, development, education and outreach will see the airline launching a number of initiatives that will help the environment, benefit the community and improve the airline’s operational efficiency. The aim is to demonstrate these responsibilities through actions by working with the community, stakeholders, suppliers and its own employees.
Gulf Air is also working with the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group on commercialisation, certification and provision of a viable market in order to accelerate the development of alternative fuels. The group comprises airlines, aircraft manufacturers and research institutions. All are committed to using bio-fuels, when the fuel is proven to be completely sustainable.
Gulf Air and the Environment
Gulf Air believes in equality and diversity that encompass its own employees, customers, suppliers and trade partners and, the community in which it operates.
It is the policy of Gulf Air to recruit, promote and support the professional development of a diverse global workforce. The intent of this policy is to:
- Ensure that diverse pools of talents are considered in recruiting and promotion.
- Recognize that business performance is dependent on the contributions of individuals and that, given the opportunity; people will use their full potential towards achieving company objectives thus converging with their personal goals.
- Recognize that an individual is responsible for his/her self-development and that the company is responsible for providing an environment which allows such development.
- Maintain affirmative action plans, training programs, and other activities, procedures and controls necessary to ensure compliance with government requirements and corporate standards.
- Encourage frank, open and ongoing communication between management and employees concerning their individual job performance and potential for career growth.
- Emphasize promotion from within. It is the policy of Gulf Air to promote and support human rights, including equal employment opportunities.
- Prohibit discrimination and/or harassment based on race, colour, gender, age, religion, national origin or disability as provided by law.
- Adopt grievance procedure to provide employees, who consider that they have a problem or complaint about their work, with a mechanism to resolve the issue fairly and speedily.
- Promote and support occupational safety and industrial hygiene and manage in a manner that seeks to eliminate occupational injuries and illnesses.
- Recognize the value of all employees, identify and assess their long term retention as key to the sustainability of the Company.
- Encourage employee involvement in decision making through various programmes such as suggestion scheme.
- Provide the avenue for employee to report any issue related to integrity and work ethics.
- Make customers aware of the environmental impact caused by travelling by air and how they are part of this carbon emission.
- Encourage them actively to participate in emission reduction programmes such as Carbon Offset
- Provide full commitment to safety and assurance of operating a well-maintained fleet with reliable aircraft.
- Ensure continuous development of present products and introduce innovative products to provide full comfort to passengers.
- Provide helpful travel health information on website and in-flight publications.
- Monitor the air quality in the cabin and ensuring that it is contaminants- free.
- Provide onboard medical care by keeping well stocked medical kit and trained crew to assist in dealing with in-flight medical emergencies.
- Each Gulf Air business unit and operating facility shall consider the CSR practices of outside vendors as part of its initial vendor selection process and whenever purchasing agreements are re-negotiated. This is to enshrine the Gulf Air’s business and corporate responsibilities by avoiding relationships with firms, which fail to comply with any CSR legal requirements or which are perceived by the general public as uncaring to their CSR responsibilities.
- Maintain a transparency and give equal opportunity in supplier-selection process.
- Follow Bahrain Tender Board regulations and procedure in supplier selection.
- Manage the disbursement of charitable funds at the local level in communities where the company has facilities and through appropriate and legitimate channels.
- Donate obsolete items to staff and charitable organizations through clear and transparent method.
- Participate in local, regional and international rescue operations in case of crises and natural disasters.
- Encourage employees to be active in the community in their own right and to this end, operate a flexible working policy, which permits staff to use a certain amount of their working hours each year to charitable activities. The company recognizes employees who participate in the national sports teams by offering them paid leave and tickets.
- Contribute cash or cash equivalent in terms of air tickets or other assets to qualified organizations, provided that the aggregate amount in any one year shall not exceed an established percentage of the company’s average income of the preceding three years as decided by the Board of Directors.
The Gulf Air CSR policy is pronounced in the following three commitments:
- Work for the improvement of the environment and the society
- Integration into commercial operations for sustainable development
- Make a difference as a responsible corporate entity in the Kingdom of Bahrain
Gulf Air will conduct its business with a sincere and balanced approach with an emphasis on the need to sustain natural resources and comply with international standards and regulations related to environmental protection.
In the Air:
- Invest in new technology to operate cleaner and quieter fleet.
- Optimise fuel uplift and adopt a fuel efficiency programme.
- Establish rigorous route planning that reduces atmospheric emissions.
- Adopt optimal operational practices that would reduce fuel burn.
- Invest in new aircraft and engines that are fuel-efficient and eco-friendly.
- Build and use efficient infrastructure though optimization of routes and terminal areas in cooperation with ATC’s.
Implement positive measures and develop industry-specific action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Encourage vendors to follow responsible environmental practices by considering such practices in the vendor selection process.
On the Ground:
- Minimize the environmental impacts of existing operations through continuous assessment, review and improvement.
- Ensure that the environmental impact of new operations are fully assessed and minimized prior to their implementation.
- Reduce consumption of materials in all operations where practicable, to re-use rather than dispose of materials where possible, and promote recycling and the use of recycled materials.
- Adopt optimal operational practices that would reduce fuel burn.
- Reduce wherever practicable, the level of harmful emissions from office premises and ground transportation.
- Introduce programmes that aim to minimize wastage.
- Dispose of waste and effluents in a responsible manner.
- Provide the necessary training and support in order to ensure that staff fulfil their requirements.
- Encourage and reward staff, who practices environment-friendly practices at work.
- Work with our suppliers to minimize the impact of their operations on the environment through a quality purchasing and qualification policy.
- Support through our community programmes the promotion of environmental protection by relevant external groups and organizations.
- Monitor progress and publish an environmental performance report on an annual basis.
- Promote the ownership and control of environmental issues at business level.
Carbon Footprint and Climate Change:
- Adopt a system to measure and monitor carbon footprint related to all company operations.
- Implement industry specific actions such as carbon off-setting programs and comply with regulations regarding carbon trading and emissions control.
- Support international organizations, in their campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Adopt industry approach to address the global challenges of climate change and work with industry organizations such as ICAO and IATA, in harmonizing Gulf Air targets with theirs in the interest to reduce greenhouse gas emission.
CSR launch in September 2008
Since the launch of its CSR policy in September 2008, Gulf Air has made some notable achievements on several fronts and it is ongoing. The list below is not exhaustive but indicates the national carrier’s genuine and sincere efforts towards achieving its CSR goals.
Introduction of a series of initiatives designed to result in an annual reduction of around 33,000 tons of CO2 emissions from its aircraft. These include:
- Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with General Directorate for the Protection of the Environment and Wildlife (GDEWP) to cooperate on environmental and educational programmes.
- flying a more direct route to certain destinations, which has so far resulted in the reduction of around 22,600 tons of Co2 emissions per year.
- Combining its two in-flight magazines, Gulf Life and On Air into one magazine. The new look Gulf Life magazine is being produced using a slightly lower weight of paper to reduce the overall weight carried on board.
- Reduction in the number of spare in-flight magazines carried on board and instead making provision for storage and replenishment on ground at its Bahrain hub and outstations. The combined benefit of these measures should result in the reduction of approximately 600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Reduction in the amount of potable water carried on board its flights by 25%, which will save around 1800 tons of carbon emissions each year.
- Other fuel conservation measures include reduced contingency fuel, acceleration height management and a flight spare kit weight reduction that will together save approximately 8,300 tons of CO2 emissions, all of which is intended to improve efficiency while maintaining the highest levels of flight safety and schedule reliability.
- Selecting CFM56-5B, one of the most fuel-efficient engines, to power its new A320 Airbus fleet seven of which have already joined the fleet that will reduce emissions by 200 tons per aircraft per year.
- The recent introduction of ‘Falcon Gold” premium class combining the best of its First and Business Class that is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by a significant quantity due to reduction in the weight of catering equipment/accessories carried onboard and other measures.
- Development of a system for measuring in-flight waste
- Implementation of a system for recycling in-flight waste (aluminum cans, paper and plastic water bottles)
- Implementation of a system for recycling paper, plastics and glass in GF headquarter buildings
- Completion of a waste management survey on hanger, maintenance bays and workshops.
- Signing of a pledge on sustainable aviation fuel along with a group of airlines, aircraft manufactures, research institutions and NGO's.
- Sponsoring local and regional events on environment protection
Establishment of a fuel conservation committee to reduce carbon emissions.
- Completion of preparation for European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) by monitoring and recording our carbon emissions.
- Working with recycling organizations on recycling and waste management for ground and in-flight waste.
- Signing of agreement with IATA to introduce voluntary cabon programme to its customers.