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Air Canada’s CSR Marks Progress on Safety, Environment

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday September 11th, 2013 | 0 Comments

ac_blue_logoAir Canada’s second CSR report focuses on four areas of sustainability: safety, the environment, the well-being of employees, and community involvement. There are points of progress and but the airline acknowledges that further progress is needed.

In brief, not bad for a second effort by Canada’s biggest airline.

Citizens of the World “improves upon the first edition in a number of ways, including the fact it is based on a materiality assessment developed from an extensive survey we undertook to identify the sustainability issues of most concern to our stakeholders,” notes Calin Rovinescu, the airline’s president and CEO.

The report was prepared in accordance with the principles of the Global Reporting Initiative, the international standard for sustainability reporting. Priscille LeBlanc, VP of corporate communications, said the company targeted a GRI G3.1 application level compliance for the second report and has a goal of applying the new GRI G4 guidelines for it next report.

Under the heading of “key achievements” for 2012, the report highlights:

  • Completion of its biennial International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit with a result of “no findings”;
  • Operation of two biofuel flights and taking steps to save an estimated 54 million liters (14.3 million gallons) of fuel during the year;
  • Introduction of an internal portal, HR Connex, to make human resources programs and policies more accessible and easier to use for Air Canada’s 27,000 employees;
  • Creation of the Air Canada Foundation to support charitable causes within communities in the form of in-kind donations and cash.

Key goals for 2013 include the successful completion of the Transport Canada Safety Management System Audit; continued support for the development of alternative, enviro-friendly fuels; concluding labor agreements and a restructuring of employee communications; and promotion of the Air Canada Foundation along with increased fundraising and visibility of the foundation.

“We must behave responsibly and ensure our activities are sustainable,” says Rovinescu. “This heightened awareness of our interconnectedness applies not only to individuals but also to corporations. Since our founding more than 75 years ago, we have strived to balance economic, environmental and social considerations in all that we do.”

Safety is a cornerstone of every airline so it is no surprise that safety is emphasized as Air Canada’s “keystone value.” The 59-page report adds: “Apart from being an ethical and operational imperative, safety is also vital to Air Canada’s sustainability, as reputational value is essential to the success of any airline. Safety was the highest-ranked topic in the materiality assessment upon which this report is based.” For 2013, the airline has targeted a 12 percent reduction in workforce injuries and a 20 percent decrease in the average duration (days lost) of injuries.

Environmentally speaking, Air Canada has established an environmental management system based on ISO 14001, which specifies a systemic approach for planning, implementing, monitoring and continually improving environmental performance. It says it will continue to work toward IATA targets to improve fuel efficiency an average of 1.5 percent per year to 2020, and reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

Those are two vital goals not only for airline sustainability, but also for airline survival: safety and environmental commitment. With its second try, Air Canada looks to be on the right flight path.

[Image: Air Canada logo via Air Canada website]


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