Global aviation sector commits to support a sustainable future
Leaders of the aviation industry have sent a reminder to governments of the vital role the sector plays in economic growth, providing jobs whilst taking its environmental responsibilities seriously.
At a meeting in Geneva today, chief executives and directors from 16 global aviation companies and organisations signed the Aviation & Environment Summit's Declaration as a joint message to world governments due to meet at Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June.
The industry leaders, representing airports, airlines, air navigation service providers and the makers of aircraft and engines, signed the declaration in a show of unity on the issue of sustainable development.
Paul Steele, Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the organisation coordinating the Summit, said that the declaration shows that aviation takes its role in sustainable development seriously. "Sustainable development â€“ and the Rio+20 process â€“ is about finding ways to balance the needs of growing economies and higher standards of living across society with the need to more carefully manage the resources we are using and the impact that we have on the world. I am pleased to say that aviation is committed to doing just that.
"In 2008, we were the first global sector to commit to global cross-industry action on climate change. That declaration set the agenda for cooperative action across the aviation industry to reduce fuel use and emissions. The cooperation between industry partners and the projects underway are impressive.
"They have led to millions of tonnes of avoided carbon emissions. Our commitment was taken up by governments and received support from the Secretary General of the United Nations as a path forward for other industries to follow. Today, we are able to expand that commitment to take account of our other impacts â€“ the positive role we play in economic and social terms."
The declaration says: "Aviation brings enormous benefits to communities and economies around the globe. It is a key enabler of economic growth and social development and provides connectivity and access to markets and tourism. Air transport, currently supporting 56.6 million jobs and over $2.2 trillion of global GDP with a strong track record of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions savings, is a strategic contributor to sustainable development."
Jet airplane image via Shutterstock