Sky’s only the beginning: Emirates might have taken sustainability to the next stratosphere
As the UAE pursues green initiatives and looks forward to its hosting of the upcoming COP28 climate summit in November this year, Emirates also seems to tread a similar path.
A person might, at times, get curious about how many empty one-litre plastic bottles are equivalent to a fully loaded A380 in weight. It’s a whopping 12.5 million bottles, roughly 500,000 kg. But interestingly, it’s also the amount of plastic and glass the airline recycles in a year.
Emirates Airline and Group, whose chairman and chief executive is a member of the UAE’s ruling Al-Maktoum family, has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability with initiatives on board and the ground, focusing on certain key areas, such as reducing emissions, generating clean energy, and consuming responsibly.
Emirates’ own Greenliner Programme
The massive 500,000 kg of plastic and glass begin its transformation journey when a plane lands in Dubai and the products are transported to one of Emirates’ many recycling facilities, creating new glass bottles, binding strips, and ultra-soft blankets.
This initiative is powerful enough to prevent 88 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfills in Dubai.
But the story of sustainability doesn’t end here. Apart from recycling products, Emirates also pays close attention to the food supplied to the passengers. It has partnered with Dilmah, a prominent carbon-neutral tea supplier since 1992. Nevertheless, the airline doesn’t just source from sustainable companies, it also ensures the quality of its products.
As far as inflight food is concerned, the vegetables served on all its flights come from the barren desert. It might sound surprising but these vegetables are sourced from Emirates’ Bustanica, the largest hydroponic farm in the world. It produces 1 million kilograms of leafy vegetables annually, all while consuming 95% less water than conventional agricultural practices.
The airline industry makes a major contribution towards global greenhouse gas emissions. In response to it, Emirates now involves the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mixed with 50% conventional fuel, in accordance with aviation safety practices. But it’s not stopping there and is always on the lookout for innovation.
Therefore, in a way, Emirates also has its own Greenliner programme, the prominent sustainability initiative by Etihad, a fellow Emirati airline.
In line with its growing focus on sustainability, Emirates is taking concrete steps on the surface as well. The airline has made noteworthy investments in solar power systems, putting UAE’s abundance of sunlight to better use and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by millions of kilograms every year.
Truly, Emirates’ recycling and clean energy initiatives have taken sustainability to the next stratosphere. The sky has never been the limit for the airline, it’s always just the beginning.