LIHU‘E — Talk about sky high sustainability goals.
Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines has published its annual Corporate Kuleana report, a docket evaluating its progress in sustainability after regaining 91 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity and affirming its plans for a greener future.
“In shifting from rebuilding to sustainable growth, we are investing in our people and systems, elevating our guest experience and strengthening our finances to position us for success,” said Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram in the report’s welcome note.
The report states Hawaiian Airlines’ released 2.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (CO2e) in 2022 — almost all of which can be tied to its purchase and use of jet fuel.
According to the report, approximately 82 percent of the company’s emissions stemmed from jet fuel’s combustion, while just over 17 percent comes from “well-to-tank” emissions, created between the fuel’s production and distribution.
The report attributes the remaining 1 percent of emissions to ground vehicle fuels and electricity for offices, as well as for maintenance and cargo facilities.
With so much of the company’s emissions rooted in jet fuel, it comes as no surprise that Hawaiian Air’s sustainability plan focuses so heavily on weaning off of it.
The report reaffirms the company’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. First announced in late March, the lofty goal relies on what’s known as sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF.
Made from sustainable feedstock — such as corn grain, oil seeds and algae — combustion of SAF releases carbon that was only recently taken from the atmosphere as opposed to fossil fuels, which release carbon that was trapped underground for millions of years.
“You can reduce the carbon footprint to some extent through … flying more efficient routes, less idling when you’re on the ground, more efficient engines — those are all being done,” said Peter Matlock, consultant at the federal Joint BioEnergy Institute and bioeconomy research and commercialization specialist at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo when Hawaiian Airlines’ road map was first published.
“But at some point, you absolutely need sustainable aviation fuel. You just cannot get around it.”
SAF is also a “drop-in” fuel, meaning it can be mixed with traditional jet fuel and used with no changes made to aircraft.
Hawaiian Airlines announced in late March that it would purchase 50 million gallons of SAF from biofuel company Gevo, with deliveries set to begin in 2029. Hawaiian Airlines has also partnered with Par Hawai‘i, the state’s largest oil refinery, to explore potential SAF production in Hawai‘i.
Additionally in the report, Hawaiian Airlines announced its commitment to eliminate onboard single-use plastics by 2029, noting its 2022 partnership with Jason Momoa-founded water company Mananalu to phase out plastic water bottles, replacing them with recyclable aluminum ones.
The report also touts the company’s diverse workforce. In 2022, more than 80 percent of Hawaiian Airlines’ active workers identified as racially or ethnically diverse, over 48 percent identified as female, and 7 percent identified as veterans.
For employees director-level or higher, more than 50 percent identified as racially or ethnically diverse, over 30 percent identified as female, and 13 percent identified as veterans.
While Ingram expressed optimism over the company’s trajectory, he acknowledged the push for sustainability and inclusivity is far from over.
“I am proud of the progress we are making,” he said. “But we have more to do.”
Jackson Healy, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-4966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island
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