Impacting Key Issues
Boeing and the environment
Photo: Boeing Photo
Creating a better tomorrow
Boeing recognizes the importance of protecting our ecosystem. That is why we are unleashing the expertise of Boeing employees to design environmentally progressive products, research cleaner fuels, enhance the global air traffic system to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel, and expand into new markets where Boeing technologies show tremendous promise.
Improving the Supply Chain’s Environmental Performance
Our life cycle approach to the environment starts with our global supply chain. In 2010, Boeing employees led more than 400 workshops educating suppliers about ways to reduce emissions and cut back on the amount of materials sent to landfills.
We’ve introduced new contracting provisions establishing suppliers’ environmental initiatives as a key factor in doing business with Boeing. The next step is to work with other major aerospace companies to establish a recognized environmental standard for our global supply base.
Achieving Aggressive Internal Targets
Boeing employees, using Lean+ tools, are developing innovative ways to meet aggressive environmental targets inside our own facilities. These efforts are delivering results. Since 2002, Boeing has reduced carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption by nearly one-third and cut water intake and hazardous-waste generation by more than 40 percent, as measured on a revenue-adjusted basis.
Operation of Boeing products represents our biggest potential impact on the environment and our greatest opportunity for a positive change. Commercial aviation accounts for two percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and our industry is addressing this issue with credible actions.
Aerospace was the only industry to present a clear plan to the United Nations Climate Change Conference. We called for global guidelines placing tough fuel-efficiency standards on new airplane designs, improvements in the global air traffic control system to cut air travel-related CO2 emissions by 12 percent, and continued efforts to commercialize sustainable biofuels — all with the aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020.
Since December 2009, two new Boeing jetliners — the 747-8 and the 787 — have entered flight test. Both airplanes will consume less fuel and produce a smaller carbon footprint than the jetliners they replace. Boeing has tested enhanced air traffic control systems at major airports in Australia, Europe and North America. If these innovations were adopted worldwide, airlines would reduce annual emissions by millions of tons. That is why we continue to urge governments to update aging air traffic control systems.
Together with leading researchers and industries, Boeing employees are advancing ways to develop sustainable biofuels made from algae and other feedstocks that reduce emissions over their life cycle without competing with food crops for land or water. In the past two years, seven customers — five airlines, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force — have flown Boeing airplanes powered by sustainable fuels.
Applying innovations designed to meet complex national security challenges, Boeing is working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Power Utilities to provide smart grid technology to improve the efficiency and security of power distribution systems.
End-of-Service Recycling and Recovery
We believe that when our products reach the end of their useful lives, they still can provide value. That is why Boeing helped bring together 11 companies to form the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association.
This group has grown to 42 members that, combined, have efficiently recycled more than 7,000 commercial and military aircraft.
These are just a few ways Boeing is applying our technical leadership to enhance environmental performance across our industry. We recognize that this is the start of a long journey. We also believe the innovative spirit that helped us conquer seemingly impossible challenges, such as landing on the moon, will help us pioneer new technologies to address environmental issues and enable people around the world to continue to grow and prosper.
For more information, please see Boeing’s 2011 Environment Report.