Responsible Business of the Year 2019: Heathrow

Finalist for Business in the Community’s Responsible Business of the Year 2019

Heathrow: From apprenticeships to electric-hybrid aircraft, Heathrow has ambitious plan for sustainable growth 

  • 20 per cent of aircraft landing in 2019 will be quietest available 
  • £7 million investment in electric vehicle charging 
  • 10,000 apprenticeships by 2030 

Heathrow 2.0 is the airport company’s plan for sustainable growth. Launched in 2017, it commits the airport to making sure that as Heathrow thrives, so too will its people, communities, the country and the world. “It’s an ambitious plan and we expect to stretch ourselves and, in some areas, to take a leap of faith,” says John Holland-Kaye, the Chief Executive. 

“We know that some of the solutions that we’ll need do not exist yet. I am determined that Heathrow will take a lead globally and be an advocate for change within the aviation sector to show how a net zero future for our sector can be achieved.”  

John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive, Heathrow

The strategy has clear objectives and targets, with a number linked to employee bonuses. A sustainability leadership development programme – including workshops and training on issues such as unconscious bias, personal resilience, and integrating sustainability into decision making – has so far been completed by 800 senior managers. 

The independent Heathrow Skills Taskforce recommended that Heathrow expansion should leave a national legacy of skills for future infrastructure projects. So, the business launched an airport-owned Shared Apprenticeship scheme in construction with a target to offer 10,000 apprenticeships by 2030. There is a focus on diversity and inclusion to make sure disability, ethnicity, gender and sexuality are not barriers to career progression. 

The airport is also committed to the environment. It has invested more than £7 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the highest density in Europe. About 70% of vehicles have already been converted to electric or plug-in hybrid. 

Since 2017, Heathrow has ranked airlines according to their performance on noise and emissions, and published a quarterly league table of the largest 50 – something that encourages them to bring their quietest and greenest fleets to Heathrow. The company estimates that 20 per cent of aircraft landing in 2019 will be Chapter 14 Low, the quietest type available. That figure stood at 16 per cent in 2017. 

To further encourage the development of commercial electric technology, Heathrow has promised that the first electric-hybrid aircraft in regular service at the airport won’t have to pay landing charges for a year, a prize worth nearly £1 million. 

The information in this impact story has been supplied by Heathrow.

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