2009 Environment Report Boeing
Mary Armstrong

Message from Mary Armstrong

In 2008, we met a number of significant improvement goals—a reflection of our employees' tremendous energy and passion to create a better future. Read more.

Message from Jim McNerney Message from James McNerney Climate change and pollution are serious global concerns. Recognizing that, Boeing has set a clear strategy to take action on protecting our ecosystem.

Over the past year, the pace of progress has accelerated even in the face of a global economic slowdown. Boeing has introduced effective new technologies for improving the environmental performance of our products, services and operations. And we continue to apply our resources to the most important areas for improvement.

Among our environmental initiatives, a clear priority is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide—the main gas associated with climate-change concerns—from our operations as well as our products.

On the operational front, one year into our five-year plan for environmental improvement, we are on track to meet our goal of absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 1 percent. That goal will require a 25-percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2012. It's an aggressive target that has our full attention.

Within our industry, we continue to help lead efforts to safeguard the environment. Early in 2008, Boeing and a host of industry stakeholders signed the “Aviation Industry Commitment to Action on Climate Change.” It's a statement of the commercial aviation industry's commitment to pursuing carbon-neutral growth and the aspiration eventually to eliminate carbon emissions from our products in the long term.

That is a major undertaking for which there is no single solution—and certainly no easy answer. Boeing's strategy is to focus on three coordinated pathways: continuing to improve the fuel efficiency of our airplanes; improving the efficiency of the air-traffic systems in which they operate; and improving the life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions of the fuels that power our airplanes.

This holistic approach recognizes that energy and environmental issues are tightly intertwined. The challenge of environmental improvement demands that we harness diverse energy sources while improving overall efficiency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the most beneficial and effective ways.

Airplane fuel efficiency

The 787 Dreamliner is the most dramatic example of progress in improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. In it, we are applying our latest technological innovations to produce an airplane that will be 20 percent more fuel efficient than the airplanes it will replace.

Alternative fuels

And all of our airplanes—including the 787—may benefit from the potential of using alternative fuels that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions over their life-cycles.

Some of our most exciting and innovative achievements over the past year have been in the development and testing of a diverse set of sustainable, plant-based fuels. Airlines Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand, Continental and JAL have all worked with Boeing, engine manufacturers and fuel developers to conduct demonstration flights in real-world flight conditions.

Initial results have been positive. These flights are proving the economic and environmental viability of biofuels derived from jatropha, algae and camelina— sustainable fuels that don't compete with food and land resources. And the diversity of viable sources increases the potential for making them available to more regions of the world and accelerating market viability.

Air-traffic system efficiency

The third pathway to reduce aviation emissions is through improved efficiency of our transportation systems. As you will see in the report, Boeing has participated in and helped develop a number of new methods (with airports, air-traffic management systems and airline operational changes) that have delivered real and substantial emissions savings over the past year—and some exciting models for the future.

I want to finish with an acknowledgment of how Boeing and its collaborators are achieving these substantial improvements: Throughout our business, employees are applying their commitment, talent and urgency to these challenges. In the past year, many Boeing employees were directly involved in meeting a major environmental goal—achieving certification to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard at all of our major manufacturing sites by the end of 2008. Indeed, our independent third-party auditor praised what it termed one of the most aggressive examples of certification it had ever seen and highlighted our employee involvement and recycling programs.

This doesn't surprise me. Today's employees are advancing the same spirit of innovation that has driven Boeing's leadership in aerospace for nearly 100 years. That spirit will continue to help us meet our commitments to protect our environment and create a better future.

Jim McNerney

Jim McNerney

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer