Letter from Michael Rousseau, President and CEO: Taking Action on Climate Change
May 01, 2021

More than most businesses, airlines must be mindful of the future. Whether assigning crews weeks in advance, scheduling and selling flights for the next year or acquiring aircraft to fly for decades, we are always planning ahead.

I am very proud that Air Canada has put this skill to work developing a new sustainability plan to meaningfully address global warming. Climate change is the greatest issue our planet faces, and we have responded by setting ourselves an ambitious goal for net-zero emissions by 2050 and a strategy to achieve it.

Already, Air Canada is an established climate leader in Canadian industry. Since 1990, we have improved our fuel efficiency by 43 per cent, invested $12 billion in more environmentally friendly aircraft, participated in developing a world carbon-pricing mechanism for our industry, supported alternative-fuel and climate research and pioneered waste reduction and recycling programs – efforts that were recognized globally when Air Transport World named us Eco-Airline of the Year in 2018.

By declaring a bold target, we are incorporating climate considerations into our strategic decision-making. We intend to achieve our goal through a four-pillar approach based on: fleet modernization and operating efficiencies; innovation with new technologies, including electrification and other potential power sources such as hydrogen; the development of sustainable aviation fuels, to which we have committed $50 million; and carbon offset and compensation strategies.

To ensure accountability, we have set interim goals for 2030 to achieve net reductions in greenhouse gases of 20 per cent from flight operations and 30 per cent from ground operations, using 2019 as a baseline. We will also disclose our progress through our regular annual corporate and sustainability reporting.

Given the urgency of the climate-change issue, our customers, investors, communities and employees insist that we operate sustainably. But mostly, we are acting because it is the right thing to do for present and future generations. To learn more about our sustainability programs and how you can participate, please visit our leaveless.com microsite.

The letter from Mike appears in enRoute Magazine, Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight magazine found onboard all Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights. This edition is from the May/June issue.