Airlines Taking ESG to New Heights: The Resilience Report

Lauren Scott is back with another compelling episode of The Resilience Report. I am a huge fan of what Lauren is doing to bring awareness to sustainability and energy conservation.

In this episode Lauren looks at Airlines and how they are doing their part to reduce the carbon footprint.

Unlocking Sustainability in the Aviation Industry: Key Takeaways from an Expert Interview

The aviation industry, despite its soaring achievements, faces a pressing challenge in today’s world: sustainability. In a recent interview with Chrystal Healy, Sustainability Director at Air Transat, Lauren delved into the critical aspects of sustainability in the aviation sector. Here, we summarize the key takeaways that shed light on how airlines are navigating this complex terrain.

1. Collaboration as the Cornerstone

One of the central themes that emerged from the interview was the importance of collaboration. Healy emphasized that sustainability is a challenge that extends beyond the boundaries of any single organization. Airlines are increasingly recognizing the need to work together, as sustainability issues affect the entire industry. It’s not just a matter of one airline feeling the pressure; it’s a collective responsibility.

2. Sustainability Beyond Profit

While discussing sustainability, Healy acknowledged the initial focus on the return on sustainable investment. However, she highlighted that sustainability is not just about profit; it’s a differentiating factor. Airlines need to consider how they market and implement sustainability initiatives to set themselves apart. Nonetheless, the key message here is that no airline can go it alone; cooperation is imperative.

3. Technological Hurdles

Decarbonization emerged as a colossal challenge for the aviation sector. Healy pointed out that aviation technology evolves gradually, and modernizing the entire fleet takes time. Electric planes, although promising, still face significant hurdles, especially for long-haul flights due to the weight of batteries. Technological advancements are crucial, but they won’t happen overnight.

4. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Potential

Amid the technological obstacles, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) emerges as a beacon of hope. SAF holds promise as a means to reduce emissions, but its availability at scale remains a major hurdle. Collaborative efforts involving government and industry producers are essential to overcome this challenge and ensure the widespread adoption of SAF.

5. Regulatory Complexity

Navigating sustainability regulations proves to be a daunting task for airlines. The interview highlighted the intricacies of operating across multiple jurisdictions with varying rules and regulations. Europe, for instance, has a more advanced regulatory framework for sustainability, while the United States takes a different approach. Simplifying and consolidating reporting requirements could significantly ease the administrative burden on airlines.

6. International Council of Airlines (ICAO)

To address the regulatory challenges, the International Council of Airlines (ICAO) plays a crucial role in consolidating international regulations, especially regarding climate-related issues. While it helps create some cohesion, the aviation industry still grapples with the complexities of different regulations in various regions.

7. Push Toward the Highest Common Denominator

A positive aspect of these varied regulations is that airlines tend to adhere to the strictest laws across different countries. This practice ensures that airlines meet the highest common denominator, promoting a higher level of sustainability across the industry. However, it also adds an administrative layer that can be streamlined to enhance efficiency.


In conclusion, Lauren’s interview with Chrystal Healy, Sustainability Director at Air Transat, offers valuable insights into the sustainability challenges and opportunities in the aviation industry.

Collaboration, technological advancements, and regulatory complexities are at the forefront of these discussions. As airlines strive to reduce their environmental footprint and embrace sustainability, it is clear that a collective effort, involving industry stakeholders, government bodies, and international organizations, is essential for lasting change. While hurdles exist, the aviation industry’s commitment to sustainability is a positive sign of its dedication to a greener future.

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