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BA Better World Report 2023

Welcome on board our most
important journey yet

Taking significant and urgent action to address aviation’s impacts is critical to make our industry much more sustainable in the long term. That’s why we’re committed to our BA Better World sustainability programme – and to innovating to drive continual improvement in our environmental, social and governance business performance.

We launched our BA Better World programme in September 2021, building on a long track record of attention to aviation sustainability.

When we launched the BA Better World programme, it marked the beginning of a long-term vision to transform our airline. We said it was our most important journey yet and that remains true today.

Our BA Better World programme is focused on where we believe we can make the biggest impact for our business, our customers and for society – People, Planet and Responsible Business.

As a hard to abate sector, we know we have more work to do. But we remain committed to tackling the causes of our environmental and social impact, to help build a more sustainable future.

  • Carbon footprint reporting

    We were the first airline to report our carbon footprint more than two decades ago

  • UK emissions trading scheme

    We were the first airline to voluntarily participate in the UK emissions trading scheme

  • Committing to Net Zero

    Our parent company International Airline Group (IAG) was the first airline group to make a Net Zero commitment. Our commitment is also Scope 3 inclusive – meaning it incorporates our entire value chain

  • Committing to SAF

    IAG was also the first European airline group to commit to 10% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030

BA Staff in front of bag drop sign

2023 Key Achievements

  • We reduced our carbon intensity in 2023 by a further 3% to reach a total of 10% below our 2019 baseline.In 2023, we continued to drive carbon efficiency across the business through multiple initiatives, including sustainability training for our pilots, introducing new, more fuel-efficient aircraft and using more sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This helped us reduce our carbon intensity to 86.2g CO2/EPK – 10% lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and a 3% intensity improvement from 2022.
  • We received certification for our environmental management system.We successfully completed the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) for our management system, covering our global flight operations, corporate offices and UK maintenance and repair.
  • We increased the amount of SAF in our operations fivefold versus 2022.In 2023, we increased our SAF usage, using more than 50,000 tonnes of SAF. This mitigated approximately 150,000 tCO2, in lifecycle emissions that would otherwise have been burnt by fossil-based jet fuel. Whilst this currently makes up just over 1 % of our fuel supply, it’s a good step on our journey to reach 10% SAF by 2030.
  • We formed a new carbon removals partnership using nature-based solutions. We announced a new carbon removals partnership with CUR8, UNDO and Standard Chartered. Under the pilot, we committed to purchase more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon removal credits delivered by UNDO, an enhanced rock weathering start-up which utilises a nature-based technology to permanently lock away CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • We continued to support charities and social enterprise groups in the UK.  Through our BA Better World Community Fund in 2023 we raised more than £2 million and supported 246 organisations‘ projects that align with all the elements of BA Better World including community engagement, diversity, wellbeing, waste reduction, tackling climate change, promoting nature and biodiversity.
  • We reached yet another Flying Start milestone.  Our colleagues and customers have raised £28 million for Flying Start, our charity partnership with Comic Relief, since the collaboration began in 2010, supporting more than one million people.
  • We continued to build a colleague culture of sustainability. In 2023, colleague engagement in sustainability rose by 15 percentage points versus 2022, and by 24 percentage points compared to our 2021 employee engagement survey baseline. The survey also indicated a 23 percentage point increase in engagement from our pilot community versus 2022.
  • We strengthened our culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. We continued to embed inclusion and diversity into British Airways by updating our policies and processes, launching a tailored learning and development programme and expanding our colleague network groups. Women represented 39.5% of our senior managers at the end of 2023.
  • We made further improvements in customer accessibility. We continue to work hard to improve our accessibility offering for our customers who require additional assistance by introducing new initiatives and partnerships to help us on our journey. In 2023, we improved access to information and services so that our customers can make more informed decisions before and during their travel.

Accelerating Change Through Collaboration 

British Airways has been bringing people, places and diverse cultures closer together for more than 100 years. Flying helps us experience new cultures and offers new business opportunities, contributing billions to economies and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs.

We know that significant action is required to address aviation’s climate impacts, and we see the urgency to deploy the solutions that will enable us to keep flying in a carbon constrained world. We also know that change is needed on a global scale, and we continue to seek opportunities to collaborate with partners inside and outside of the industry to drive innovation to accomplish a collective ambition to reach Net Zero.

In 2023, we saw progress and momentum building – within our own business, but also across the world. At events including New York Climate Week, the Sustainable Skies World Summit and the Earthshot Prize, we were proud to contribute and be immersed in the innovation-focused solutions that have the power to make more sustainable living a reality.

Our focus in 2024 and beyond, is to accelerate the transformation of our operations and long-term investments to minimise our impact on the planet and maximise our contribution to society. We will continue to embed our BA Better World programme across every part of our business and mobilise, energise and support our colleagues to create a culture of sustainability that’s visible to our customers throughout their journey.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far, though we know there’s still plenty more to do. We look forward to collaborating with our customers, colleagues, peers and partners to drive change.

Thank you to everyone who’s contributed so far – we couldn’t do this without you.

Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO
Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability

Photos and signatures of Carrie Harris and Sean Doyle

Embedding Sustainability into
our Operations 

We’re working to weave sustainable practices throughout our operations and to build an internal culture of engagement. We see sustainability as being integral to all British Airways roles, as we believe that all our colleagues can make a positive contribution to people and the planet. And we’re making sustainability a key focus from day one – from integrating sustainability into our new colleague induction programme, through to recurring cabin crew and pilot learning and development. Sustainability is a journey that we’re all on together.

Isometric Cityscape
Direct Sustainable Aviation Fuel supplyRenewable fuels for ground vehiclesMore efficient aircraftLoungesRenewable electricityCheck-inDisaster responseImproved battery and charging technologyPush backAircraft improvementsRemoving single use plasticFighting illegal wildlife traffickingCustomer awarenessContrailsOperational efficiencyReducing noiseCustomer informationOnboard recyclingSafeguarding biodiversityColleague community engagementReducing wasteCommunity garden

Direct Sustainable Aviation Fuel supply

Our SAF is delivered direct to our aircraft at Heathrow via existing pipeline infrastructure as a drop-in solution blended with conventional jet fuel. Today SAF accounts for just over 1 % of our fuel supply

Renewable fuels for ground vehicles

More than 90% of our vehicles and pieces of ground equipment at Heathrow Airport are either zero emissions electrical equipment when being used or driven or are operating on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel

More efficient aircraft

In 2023, we introduced ten new aircraft and removed five. Our new aircraft are up to 35% more efficient than the ones they replace

Lounges

Our Brita water taps in lounges at Heathrow are saving approximately 1 million glass bottles per year

Renewable electricity

Our properties use electricity generated from renewable resources which are backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs)

Check-in

We want to make the travel experience for all customers with additional needs, simpler and easier. Aligned with our Responsible Business commitment, we are making improvements to encourage more customers to travel with us and to ensure they can enjoy a better customer experience. For example, in 2023 we introduced the British Airways Visual Guide to help customers prepare for their flight and make them feel as comfortable as possible during their journey

Disaster response

For over a decade, we have partnered with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), supporting 13 appeals and raising more than £2 million in donations. We also work with other humanitarian organisations to support requests for the deployment of humanitarian relief workers and, in partnership with IAG Cargo, shipments of lifesaving supplies

Improved battery and charging technology

We are utilising long-life lithium-ion battery technology for our electric baggage tugs, which use less electricity than traditional battery technology and less CO2 compared to diesel tugs

Push back

We were the first airline globally to operate high-tech remote-controlled devices to push back aircraft. Powered by renewable electricity, the Mototoks allow staff to prepare narrowbody aircraft for departure more efficiently

Aircraft improvements

We retrofitted ten A320-series aircraft with ‘sharklet’ winglets enabling a 1-2% efficiency saving for these aircraft

Removing single use plastic

We have removed plastic wrapping from World Traveller Plus cabin blankets, and introduced birchwood cutlery in World Traveller, together saving 140 tonnes of single-use plastics each year. We continue to work progressively with new and existing suppliers to find new scalable solutions

Fighting illegal wildlife trafficking

We are signatories to the Buckingham Palace Declaration which we support by implementing procedures for colleagues to identify suspicious behaviour and how to report it, as well as working with external stakeholders to interupt illegal wildlife trafficking

Customer awareness

Our BA Better World onboard entertainment system channel had more than 15,000 viewers in 2023

Contrails

We are working with researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Leeds to better understand contrails and opportunities to mitigate these impacts

Operational efficiency

More than 3,500 pilots, representing more than 85% of our pilot population, have already completed our annual sustainability training programme, which has a key focus on reduced engine taxi in and out and the intelligent use of discretionary fuel. Our fuel efficiency dashboard also enables our pilots to better align fuel use with fuel needs

Reducing noise

We continue to drive focus on operational best practices including continuous descents and optimised landing gear deployment to reduce noise and emissions

Customer information

Our customers can make more informed travel choices through our climate software solution CO2llaborate, which enables passengers to view the estimated emissions generated from their travel and contribute to a range of climate projects

Onboard recycling

We were the first airline certified to recycle on flights into New York as part of the IATA transatlantic recycling trial, as current international catering waste regulations require that anything that has touched food products on an international flight must be disposed of

Safeguarding biodiversity

Our BA Better World Community Fund supports projects that deliver benefits for climate, nature and communities across the UK. This includes conservation efforts with the Blue Marine Foundation to extend the Solent’s first oyster restoration reef​, Forestry England to plant 9,000 native trees, the London Wildlife Trust to work on the community and biodiversity regeneration of South Hillingdon and Sea Wilding to restore native oyster beds in a Scottish loch

Colleague community engagement

We have more than 4,600 colleagues globally who are active community champions involved in fundraising and volunteering activities

Reducing waste

At our Waterside headquarters, we launched new bins across all floors to encourage better segregation, allowing for multiple waste streams to be collected and disposed of more easily

Community garden

In 2023, we worked closely with Energy Garden to create and redevelop space around Hatton Cross Tube Station into a community garden. More than 100 colleagues volunteered – clearing, planting and building insect-safe garden features to encourage the return of biodiversity to the area

Isometric Cityscape
Disaster responseImproved battery and charging technologyCheck-inRenewable electricityLoungesImproved battery and charging technologyPush backRenewable fuels for ground vehiclesDirect Sustainable Aviation Fuel supplyMore efficient aircraftReducing noiseCustomer informationOnboard recyclingCommunity gardenSafeguarding biodiversityReducing wasteColleague community engagementFighting illegal wildlife traffickingAircraft improvementsRemoving single use plasticOperational efficiency

Disaster response

For over a decade, we have partnered with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), supporting 13 appeals and raising more than £2 million in donations. We also work with other humanitarian organisations to support requests for the deployment of humanitarian relief workers and, in partnership with IAG Cargo, shipments of lifesaving supplies

Improved battery and charging technology

We are utilising long-life lithium-ion battery technology for our electric baggage tugs, which use less electricity than traditional battery technology and less CO2 compared to diesel tugs

Check-in

We want to make the travel experience for all customers with additional needs, simpler and easier. Aligned with our Responsible Business commitment, we are making improvements to encourage more customers to travel with us and to ensure they can enjoy a better customer experience. For example, in 2023 we introduced the British Airways Visual Guide to help customers prepare for their flight and make them feel as comfortable as possible during their journey

Renewable electricity

Our properties use electricity generated from renewable resources which are backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs)

Lounges

Our Brita water taps in lounges at Heathrow are saving approximately 1 million glass bottles per year

Improved battery and charging technology

We are utilising long-life lithium-ion battery technology for our electric baggage tugs, which use less electricity than traditional battery technology

Push back

We were the first airline globally to operate high-tech remote-controlled devices to push back aircraft. Powered by renewable electricity, the Mototoks allow staff to prepare narrowbody aircraft for departure more efficiently

Renewable fuels for ground vehicles

More than 90% of our vehicles and pieces of ground equipment at Heathrow Airport are either zero emissions electrical equipment when being used or driven, or are operating on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel

Direct Sustainable Aviation Fuel supply

Our SAF is delivered direct to our aircraft at Heathrow via existing pipeline infrastructure as a drop-in solution blended with conventional jet fuel. Today SAF accounts for just over 1% of our fuel supply

More efficient aircraft

In 2023, we introduced ten new aircraft and removed five. Our new aircraft are up to 35% more efficient than the ones they replace

Reducing noise

We continue to drive focus on operational best practices including continuous descents and optimised landing gear deployment to reduce noise and emissions

Customer information

Our customers can make more informed travel choices through our climate software solution CO2llaborate, which enables passengers to view the estimated emissions generated from their travel and contribute to a range of climate projects

Onboard recycling

We were the first airline certified to recycle on flights into New York as part of the IATA transatlantic recycling trial, as current international catering waste regulations require that anything that has touched food products on an international flight must be disposed of

Community garden

In 2023, we worked closely with Energy Garden to create and redevelop space around Hatton Cross Tube Station into a community garden. More than 100 colleagues volunteered – clearing, planting and building insect-safe garden features to encourage the return of biodiversity to the area

Safeguarding biodiversity

Our BA Better World Community Fund supports projects that deliver benefits for climate, nature and communities across the UK. This includes conservation efforts with the Blue Marine Foundation to extend the Solent’s first oyster restoration reef​, Forestry England to plant 9,000 native trees, the London Wildlife Trust to work on the community and biodiversity regeneration of South Hillingdon and Sea Wilding to restore native oyster beds in a Scottish loch

Reducing waste

At our Waterside headquarters, we launched new bins across all floors to encourage better segregation, allowing for multiple waste streams to be collected and disposed of more easily

Colleague community engagement

We have more than 4,600 colleagues globally who are active community champions involved in fundraising and volunteering activities

Fighting illegal wildlife trafficking

We are signatories to the Buckingham Palace Declaration which we support by implementing procedures for colleagues to identify suspicious behaviour and how to report it, as well as working with external stakeholders to interupt illegal wildlife trafficking

Aircraft improvements

We retrofitted ten A320-series aircraft with ‘sharklet’ winglets, enabling a 1-2% efficiency saving for these aircraft

Removing single use plastic

We have removed plastic wrapping from World Traveller Plus cabin blankets, and introduced birchwood cutlery in World Traveller, together saving 140 tonnes of single-use plastics each year. We continue to work progressively with new and existing suppliers to find new scalable solutions

Operational efficiency

More than 3,500 pilots, representing more than 85% of our pilot population, have already completed our annual sustainability training programme, which has a key focus on reduced engine taxi in and out and the intelligent use of discretionary fuel. Our fuel efficiency dashboard also enables our pilots to better align fuel use with fuel needs

Our Commitments

2025


  • 11% lower carbon intensity, to 86g CO /pkm compared to the 2019 baseline
  • 20% reduction in onboard waste per passenger compared to the 2019 baseline
  • 40% of onboard waste to be recycled compared to the 2019 baseline
  • 40% women in senior leadership roles
  • 14% ethnic diversity in senior leadership roles

2030


  • 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
  • 20% ethnic diversity in senior leadership roles

2050 or sooner


Net-Zero emissions across entire operations and supply chain

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

We’re aligned to the Net Zero vision of our parent company IAG and two global frameworks, one of which is the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN has 17 SDGs to support as part of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We’ve identified eight SDGs that we’re focusing on which we believe can best influence change.

  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action