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The sustainable ­traveler and SAS

Sustainability is an ­integrated part of SAS’ development, with the focus on financial, environmental and social ­responsibility.

Finding new ways to boost sustainability has long been an important ingredient in SAS’ business development. Since the 1990’s, the airline has been developing new and innovative ways to be more sustainable – and there are many measures to promote sustainability that we may not even notice as we jet off on our next business or pleasure trip.

One thing you may have noticed is the aircraft used for the short- and medium-haul fleet. Last year, SAS invested in 30 new A320neo planes and this year, another 50 neos were ordered. Having a single plane fleet will not just make it easier for the pilots, who will be able to rotate much more easily between aircraft, the new neos also reduce CO2 emissions.
“This will make the fleet the most efficient on the market when it comes to cost-efficiency and the environment,” says Lars Andersen Resare, Head of Environment and CSR at SAS. “We will be using 18% less fuel than with the previous A320 model, which is a significant improvement.”

Saving fuel is, of course, a big challenge in the airline industry, but SAS is committed not just to reducing fuel consumption but also to increasing its use of biofuels.  
“Last year, we purchased 100 tons of biofuel and the year before that, 87 tons. We buy as much as we can find on the market,” says Andersen Resare. “The problem is that supply is not meeting demand, so we’re continually talking to producers to find new sources. ­Using biofuel means roughly 80% fewer CO2 emissions – reducing greenhouse gas emissions is something we at SAS are very committed to, so we’ll continue our efforts in this area.
“We’re happy that we’ve signed a letter of intent with Preem to partner up on the production of renewable jet fuel. We hope to use renewable jet fuel corresponding to all of the fuel used on our domestic flights by 2030.”

Making aircraft lighter is another part of reducing fuel consumption.
“The SAS Products & Services department is working hard to reduce the weight of everything onboard,” explains Andersen Resare. “We’ve just invested in 3,000 new carts for the A350, which will be delivered next year. The new carts are about 4.5kg lighter than the old ones, so this is another positive weight reduction.”

As SAS upgrades 68 existing aircraft, old carpets, which weighed 1,695g/sq m, are being replaced with lighter ones weighing 1,250g/sq m. For a single A320, this means the carpet is around 38kg lighter, which translates into a significant net weight decrease and less fuel needed to reach its destination. Until now, it has been something of a logistic challenge to recycle aluminum cans on flights, but now SAS will start  recycling all aluminum cans. 
“It’s been an interesting process to figure out how to do this practically,” says Andersen Resare. “It’s not like at home where you have your different containers for glass, paper, aluminum and other things. We’re happy to say that we now have an agreement with our catering suppliers to handle recycling of all aluminum cans, which is a positive change to what we’d been doing before.”

SAS Products & Services has also taken a close look at how the airline can reduce its environmental footprint when it comes to things like introducing lighter cups, napkins made from sustainable materials and cartons that meet the most stringent recycling requirements.
“This year, plastic packaging for sandwiches has been reduced by 50%. For example, when you order a sandwich on flights within Europe, the carton it comes in is cradle-to-cradle certified. This means all of the components of the product can be processed and/or recycled without any loss in quality. This is the purest form of recycling and lightweight – recyclable packaging doesn’t just mean less fuel consumption, it also means significantly less waste.”

And finally, now that travelers are increasingly pre-­ordering meals, SAS can further optimize the loaded meals on each flight, which means less food waste and less weight on the plane.

This may not seem like much, but as we all know, ­every little bit counts as we all strive to reduce our ­impact on the planet. 

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