Airbus signs agreement with ONF (French Forestry Commission) for safeguarding Easter Island

Airbus confirms its commitment to protecting biodiversity

25 May 2010 Press Release

Airbus, the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, is signing an agreement which aims to support the project launched by the international branch of the ONF (Office National des Forêts – French Forestry Commission) for the “Sustainable and participative management of the natural resources of Easter Island”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It aims to support initiatives relative to ecology, tourism and agriculture which are set up in consultation with the local populations. This project is part of the environmental sponsorship policy that is being developed with the backing of the French Secretary of State for Ecology.

Airbus is working to promote a new way of looking at how industry’s major economic players can contribute to sustainable development, particularly in the area of protecting biodiversity. This new type of action fits perfectly into Airbus’ approach on this subject.

According to Christian Dumas, Vice President Sustainable Development and Eco-efficiency at Airbus: “Due to its insularity and geographical location (at the ‘other end of the World’ in the middle of the Pacific, 3,600 km off the coast of Chile) Easter Island is a perfect example of the added value brought by air transport. This simply strengthens the conclusions of the report drawn up last year by Oxford Economics on the economic and social impact of air transport and the benefits it generates. Airbus’ participation in this project shows that it is possible to work towards a sustainable economic development, the restoration of biodiversity and the protection of the Rapa Nui culture, while at the same time developing sustainable tourism on the island that respects its sites and inhabitants.”

Air transport is a necessity on a worldwide scale and is not incompatible with the creation of a better environment for all. Airbus is convinced that the essential social and economic benefits made possible by a more accessible world are still to come and will give rise to a more sustainable world.

Today, aviation is responsible for 2% of all the CO2 emissions generated by human activity.  What’s more, air traffic is going to grow by about 5% a year over the next 20 years*: Aware of the need to limit the corresponding emissions, Airbus and the air transport sector as a whole have set ambitious targets in the framework of a global and concerted approach: a fifty percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 (compared to 2005), starting from a commitment to neutral CO2 growth as early as 2020.

*According to the Airbus 2009 Global Market Forecast survey

As part of its efforts to be a responsible and eco-efficient company, Airbus is acting on an international level to achieve these goals, in particular by:
- implementing projects on bio-fuels for aviation as early as this year,
- supporting improvements in air traffic (SESAR programme in Europe and Next Gen in the USA).

Furthermore, Airbus is working with the United Nations’ Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to provide its support to the “The Green Wave” initiative, whose goal is to raise awareness amongst the young and educate them on the crucial importance of biodiversity in our lives and for our future. “The Green Wave” encourages young people to celebrate life on Earth, particularly at the time of the International Day for Biodiversity, which takes place every year on 22 May.

Notes on ONF:

The Office National des Forêts (ONF) is a Public Industrial and Commercial Establishment that comes under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and of the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea. The ONF is the heir to more than eight centuries of French public forest management and the leading forest manager in Europe. Its key missions are to:
- ensure the sustainable management of the State’s and Local Authorities’ public forests,
- conduct General Interest Missions on behalf of the State (fire prevention/fighting, protecting dunes and combating erosion in mountain areas),
- provide services on behalf of the Local Authorities and companies to help them enhance their natural heritage.

Notes on ONF International:

Abroad, ONF is involved through its subsidiary ONF International whose main purpose is to transfer skills and know-how in forestry and town & country planning. ONF International works in around fifty countries in the areas of biodiversity protection, sustainable forest management. It is also active in combating climate change and poverty, not to mention town & country planning, enhancing ecosystems in the fight against natural hazards and using biomass to improve access to energy.

ONF International bases its action on the following principles: sustainability, efficiency and social, economic and environmental excellence, transparency and neutrality, measured and focused action, transfer of skills to the local populations, innovation, integrated and participative management, replicability.