Airbus underscores its commitment to enhancing the aviation industry’s eco-efficiency with initiatives that extend throughout the entire lifecycle of an aircraft – from the design and production phases to its in-service operation and eventual retirement. As part of this approach, the company has implemented an environmental management system (EMS), which addresses potential environmental effects and provides an organised approach to management decisions based on business needs, resources and goals.
The Airbus EMS expands the scope of a standard environmental management system by integrating the company's manufacturing processes and airliner products through a life-cycle approach – allowing for the mapping, assessment, control and reduction of an aircraft and its production’s environmental footprint.
In 2007, Airbus became the first aerospace manufacturing company to receive International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 environmental certification, which covers the entirety of the company's production sites and product-related activities through a full life-cycle approach. Airbus’ ISO 14001 certification was successfully renewed in 2010 and once again in 2013 for a further three years.
In order to continuously improve the protection for its employees, as well as customers and passengers, Airbus has deployed means and resources to monitor and remove the most hazardous substances from its internal processes and outsourced equipment. This takes into account all applicable regulations impacting Airbus operations, such as the REACH guidelines.
Airbus is actively working to develop new solutions involving qualification and implementation of substitutes into its products to avoid supply chain disruptions and provide support to customers. The company works on these topics within the Airbus Group and in close collaboration with professional associations such as IAEG, ASD, ADS, BDLI, TEDAE and GIFAS.
Other eco-efficiency initiatives
In 2011, Airbus launched an important project throughout all sites and functions – Blue5 – to reduce its environmental impact by the year 2020. The programme’s goals include a 30 per cent reduction in energy consumption, 50 per cent reductions of CO2 and volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions, as well as waste production and water consumption. The initiative also calls for an 80 per cent reduction in water discharge.
One example of Airbus’ commitment to Blue5 and the environment is the company’s newest final assembly line in Toulouse, France for the A350 XWB, which is considered to have the lowest environmental footprint of any final assembly facility built by the company. The facility’s building structure makes extensive use of natural lighting in order to decrease energy consumption while half of the 22,000 sq. metre roof surface is fitted with photovoltaic solar panels. Because of these initiatives, the building will produce the equivalent of 55 per cent of its own energy needs.
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