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Cathay Pacific Airways VP Offers Takeaways from ELEMCON Conference Session

Airlines represent one of the few major industry sectors to set and implement all-encompassing carbon-emission goals, committing to carbon-neutral growth by 2020. As the first airline to invest in biofuel production technology, Cathay Pacific Airways is leading the industry’s way. As part of its commitment to the environmental, sustainability and energy management, the airline uses sustainably-sourced products, recycled and repurposed materials in its cabins. 

Philippe Lacamp, senior VP with Cathay Pacific Airways, will share thoughts on how to create an all-encompassing carbon reduction strategy during his Plenary Session at ELEMCON, May 15-17 in Denver. We asked him to preview his presentation.

Tell us a about the global airline industry’s goals.

Lacamp: We are moving beyond a “patchwork quilt” of regulatory environments and treaties duplicating many of the carbon fees coming onto the market. We have asked instead, “How can be have a demonstrable goal for reducing the industry’s carbon footprint worldwide?” The industry is now committed as a whole to carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

How will that affect your airline?

Lacamp: We will need to use an offset mechanism to cap carbon emissions above the baseline set in 2020.

How does running an international operation hinder you from reaching your goals?

Lacamp: Using offsets to meet the goals adds cost, but we recognize the responsibility we have to our industry to impact the environment less. We were in fact one of the leaders in pushing for an industry-wide agreement. We’re pushing hard in addition on the use of second generation biofuels to actually reduce carbon emissions.

How would you advise industries outside the airlines industry?

Lacamp: There’s no “one size fits all” approach at the granular level. But it’s important to agree on a principle. The airlines industry agreed it produces carbon emissions that need to be reduced. Simply said, can your industry take on responsibility for its environmental impact? If a whole industry can embrace a scheme where all players are affected to the same degree, there’s no competitive distortion.

What can others learn from Cathay Pacific’s initiatives?

Lacamp: I hope they’ll take away a sense of optimism. The advances being made around renewable fuels in particular and the increasing awareness of the role of carbon emissions is a very positive story. It’s incumbent on business to earn the right to be in business. That means grappling with profoundly large issues, which we are doing. And we’re making considerable headway.

Join us at the Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference (ELEMCON) in Denver, May 15-17, to learn from Cathay Pacific and other large organizations about how they are meeting today’s challenges of complying with environmental regulations, reaching enterprise-wide sustainability goals, and reaching energy management targets. Network with more than 300 of your peers, learn actual strategies from practitioners, and explore the latest technologies with dozens of vendors. Register today.

Photo credit: B-LRP Cathay Pacific, Flickr Creative Commons

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