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SAS and Sweden's Ski Team Alpaine has entered a partnership.
SAS and Sweden's Ski Team Alpaine has entered a partnership.

Photo: Klas Rockberg

Aviation

The green slope to success

SAS has entered into a partnership with Sweden’s Ski Team Alpine. As part of this, SAS will purchase biofuel to partly offset the national ski team’s -carbon footprint. A win-win for both -parties – and our planet.

Flying is an important and unavoidable part of life for Sweden’s Ski Team Alpine, whose members spend over 200 days a year traveling. For SAS, meanwhile, reducing climate--changing carbon dioxide emissions is a key focus, so investment in biofuel is crucial. As such, the partnership means more climate-smart travel for both parties.

“Being able to get from A to B quickly is fundamental if we’re to optimize training and reach competition venues around the world. Before now, we hadn’t spent much time thinking about the environment when we travel, but this agreement with SAS will influence how much biofuel is used on our trips,” says Kalle Olsson -Bexell, Head of Marketing and Communications at Ski Team Sweden Alpine.

Kalle Olsson Bexell“This partnership with SAS is a fantastic way for us to be able to continue our program and do so in the most environmentally-friendly way possible,” he adds.

Tommy Eliasson Winter, Head of Ski Team Sweden Alpine, agrees:

“SAS is home for those of us who spend a great deal of time in the ‘airline industry’ and as we start from Sweden it’s also the airline with the most options and choices for us. With our 100 or so team members on the move for over 200 days a year, we have to have a partner that -understands our needs – when making bookings, at check-in and for service in general. Here, we feel we have made the right choice. And those of us who work nationally also use the SAS lounges, with the added bonus that they are perfect places to work.”

Ski Team Alpine started seriously thinking about the environment during discussions with another partner, Swedish energy company Vattenfall, about how melting glaciers make opportunities to practice worse and worse, ultimately threatening the entire sport of skiing. The two partners then analyzed Ski Team -Alpine’s current carbon footprint and what possible scope there was to reduce it, based on Team Alpine operations, skiers and coaches when they are “at work”.  They looked at how team members travel, live and eat and then calculated the carbon dioxide emissions of each one.

“It was a wake-up call for us. Within the parameters of our operations, we consume nearly four times as much carbon dioxide as the average Swede. We felt we had to do something, for ourselves, for our sport and for coming generations,” Olsson Bexell says.

SAS is also delighted with the new partnership.

“Ski Team Alpine is a very important organization and customer. Sport, exercise and health are vital for our social development,” says Lars Andersen Resare, Head of Environment & CSR at SAS.

He feels SAS has an important role to play in relationships with companies and organizations that work with sustainability, in finding smart ways to reduce environmental impact together.

“This partnership is the first of its kind for us and as such, unique, but we envisage many similar collaborations moving forward. Biofuel is incredibly important and will help us significantly lower our carbon dioxide emissions. We would have been happy to buy much more biofuel if it had been available, but the price is very high today and access is limited,” Andersen Resare says.Tommy Eliasson Winter

Biofuel costs around three to four times as much as fossil fuels today, but SAS still feels there will be opportunities in the near future for both companies and private individuals to upgrade to biofuel if they wish.

Based on Ski Team Alpine’s travel patterns last year, SAS expects to buy in biofuel corresponding to some 400 flights between Stockholm and Åre/Östersund, and with summer approaching, much of the Ski Team’s training will take place in Åre.

“We have built an Alpine Center of -Excellence at our own Åre facility, which means a great deal of our training is scheduled there,” Eliasson Winter says.

Another important aspect for the ski team members to consider concerning their carbon footprint is how they pack.

“Packing is an incredible challenge for us and the most environmentally-friendly solution is always the less baggage the better. Planning is the key to this, so we try to focus on having a sound basic plan. For instance, we sometimes leave stuff that we later move short distances around Central Europe,” Eliasson Winter says.

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Last edited: September 4, 2018

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