Environmental concerns

A sense of responsibility and the concerns of its stakeholders provide the basis for the Lufthansa Group’s environmental strategy

The material environmental impacts of flight operations are primarily climate effects related to the carbon emissions produced by burning kerosene and the noise caused by aircraft takingoff and landing. Ground transportation, which is responsible for aircraft loading and handling, also generates carbon emissions. In addition, waste is produced on board and on the ground for every flight. This must be reduced or recycled wherever possible. The Lufthansa Group’s environmental strategy addresses all three of these key areas of action.

Based on its understanding of responsible practices and the increased demands from external stakeholders such as customers, business partners, investors and the legislature as well as current and future employees, the Lufthansa Group intends to continuously strengthen its commitment to climate protection and careful use of finite resources. It aims to limit the environmental impacts of its business activities. This is, as a rule, consistent with its own economic interests, since resource consumption and emission-related fees all represent costs for the Company.

A Strategic Roadmap Discussion (SRD) was held in the reporting year to discuss sustainability aspects impacting the environment in greater detail. SRD is an established format in which relevant strategic topics are discussed with the Executive Board of the Lufthansa Group. The focus was on the field of action “Low emissions in flight operations”, including the Lufthansa Group’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel strategy (SAF strategy), as well as the ESG risk landscape and the more stringent reporting requirements applicable from the 2024 financial year onwards as a result of the implementation of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) for the Lufthansa Group.

Active involvement in national and international associations and sustainability initiatives

The Lufthansa Group is a member of various national and international business and industry associations as well as associations of aviation companies which are dealing with a variety of topics relevant to the Company’s business success. The Lufthansa Group’s involvement in associations ranges from Executive Board membership of the steering committees of various aviation associations and participation in working groups through to simple observer status. In each case, the Company aims to exchange positions on relevant strategic issues and to contribute its own perspectives to the opinion-forming process within these associations. Relevant issues include climate protection, noise abatement, circular economy and human rights. The Lufthansa Group is an active member of associations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airlines for Europe (A4E), the German Aviation Association (BDL), the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI, represented by Lufthansa Technik AG), the German Equities Institute (DAI) and econsense, the Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business. Via the associations the Lufthansa Group also has direct contact with national ministries and EU. ↗ Opportunities from the regulatory environment and Risks from the regulatory environment.

In addition, SWISS is a member of the Umbrella Federation of Swiss Aerospace (Aerosuisse) and swisscleantech, the Swiss umbrella organisation for climate-aware businesses. swisscleantech promotes ambitious energy and climate policies, offers its members access to knowledge, best practices and decision-makers, and promotes the exchange of ideas between business, science and politics.

Austrian Airlines is a member of the umbrella association Aviation Industry Austria, which was founded in 2022 when the Austrian Aviation Association (ÖLFV) merged with the Austrian Aeronautics Industries Group (AAIG). This body representing the interests of the Austrian aviation sector campaigns at a national level on issues such as promoting the development of sustainable mobility and preserving and strengthening the competitiveness of the Austrian aviation industry and for aviation’s role as a key sector for the Austrian economy.

Numerous measures and transparent communication support the implementation of the Lufthansa Group’s environmental strategy

The Lufthansa Group is pursuing an environmental programme as a means of implementing its environmental strategy. Its main fields of action are the reduction of emissions, active noise abatement, energy and resource management, investment in research and the step-by-step establishment of environmental management systems.

The Lufthansa Group operates a central environmental database. One of its functions is to collect and process information and data from across the Group that is relevant to the environment – such as on energy consumption – so this information can be employed in business decisions. This database is continuously developed and supplemented with new requirements. The resource consumption recorded in this database and the emissions calculated on this basis are also used to determine the Lufthansa Group’s total carbon footprint, with annual audits by external experts. The total carbon footprint and measures to reduce the consumption of resources and carbon emissions are provided in detail and in a transparent manner to the global non-profit organisation CDP, among other entities.

As a supportive part of the environmental strategy the Lufthansa Group persues communicative approaches of communications activities. The communication campaign “#MakeChangeFly” is supplemented by an information campaign on the Lufthansa Group’s websites and by various events intended to raise awareness among corporate partners, customers and the general public, both nationally and internationally. On social media channels, the hashtag #MakeChangeFly is likewise used to refer to the development of relevant sustainability activities. Under this slogan, the Lufthansa Group also continuously keeps its employees informed of the Group’s sustainability activities via its internal communication channels.

The Lufthansa Group’s environmental management system is to be further expanded

The Lufthansa Group’s environmental management system includes binding environmental targets and a regular assessment by the Executive Board. In addition, an environmental management system is a valuable tool for enabling the Lufthansa Group to promote open dialogues and shared learning and offer the necessary organisational framework to achieve the environmental targets it has set. Together with the Group companies, the central Sustainability department of the Lufthansa Group continuously reviews the use and expansion of environmental management systems.

In 2023, Lufthansa Airlines in Frankfurt and Austrian Airlines in Vienna had their environmental management system validated according to the demanding standards of the EMAS Regulation (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) for the first time and thus achieved a further milestone in the Lufthansa Group’s focus on sustainability.

The ratio of companies within the Lufthansa Group with a validated or certified environmental management system in place increased from around 30% to 66% in 2023 (measured according to the number of employees in these companies).

Moreover, the environmental management system of Air Dolomiti was revalidated/recertified (EMAS / ISO 14001) in the reporting year. As of publication of this report, the certification process had not yet been completed. Lufthansa Cargo was also recertified (ISO 14001).

In 2023, the following Lufthansa Group companies had certified/validated environmental management systems:

T046 Certified environmental management systems of the Lufthansa Group in 2023
    EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) DIN EN ISO 14001:2015
Lufthansa Airlines (Frankfurt and Munich) X X
Lufthansa CityLine GmbH X X
Austrian Airlines X X
Air Dolomiti S.p.A. X1) X1)
Lufthansa Technik AG (incl. subsidiary Lufthansa Industry Solutions)   X
Lufthansa Cargo AG (incl. subsidiaries time:matters and Jettainer)   X
1) Application submitted in November 2023; as of publication of this report, the certificate had not yet been issued.

The current environmental statements of the companies validated according to EMAS are available on the Lufthansa Group’s websites.

Organisational foundations and responsibilities

The Group function Corporate Responsibility, which reports directly to the Executive Board member for Brand & Sustainability, is responsible for defining, agreeing and adopting the overarching environmental management targets and activities.

In addition, all larger subsidiaries have their own environmental departments, an environmental officer or environmental coordinators. The environmental officers and coordinators meet monthly with other Group sustainability officers in the Sustainability Circle to discuss Group-wide sustainability issues and, in particular, environmental protection concerns. This exchange offers the sustainability and environmental experts in the Lufthansa Group an opportunity to identify potential synergies and to discuss and evaluate new ideas, activities and projects concerned with environmental protection.

Lufthansa Group Annual Report 2023