EAD, Etihad to reduce single-use plastics on flights

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, and Etihad Aviation Group, Etihad, joined forces by signing a memorandum of understanding, MoU, that details collaboration on several critical environmental programmes. The programmes were all designed to align with international challenges and Abu Dhabi’s environmental agenda.

EAD and Etihad have selected globally significant priorities for the partnership that include: the reduction of single-use plastics on flights, assessing carbon emission offsets and the protection and conservation of biodiversity through awareness campaigns and screenings on in-flight entertainment. Moreover, both parties will collaborate on an integrated and sustainable waste management plan across Etihad’s activities.

The MoU is the next step in successful historical relations between EAD and Etihad, who partnered for the Year of Zayed Birdathon that saw 10 flamingos tracked by satellite from Al Wathba Protected Area – with some travelling as far as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and back to Abu Dhabi. Over two years later, many still have their tags on and are still transmitting data. Etihad has also been screening the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s wildlife documentaries ‘Back to the Wild’ and ‘Zayed’s Antarctic Lights’. The Agency also had an ambassador on Etihad’s World Record Long Haul Single-Use, Plastic-Free Flight, between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane, on Earth Day last year.

Regarding the single-use plastic project, the MoU stipulates that Etihad will commit to the reduction of single-use plastics by 2022 – at least an 80 percent reduction on 2020’s figures. EAD will use its expertise on environmental policies to guide and support Etihad to help them achieve this target. EAD will also help to identify plastic items and their sustainable alternatives in line with the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy that was launched in February of this year.

To reduce and offset carbon emissions and harmful pollutants, both entities will devise climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives of mutual benefit, and together promote carbon footprint reduction and carbon offsetting. Additionally, they will be developing and implementing pioneering projects to reduce air pollutants from Etihad’s activities.

In line with EAD’s strategic priority for the conservation and raising awareness on biodiversity, Etihad will display regular environmental features on the environment, biodiversity and ecotourism via its in-flight entertainment content and host a sustainable environmental channel that will showcase EAD’s documentaries as well as the most important current sustainability initiatives. Etihad will also consider partnering in wildlife satellite tracking and participate in ‘Collaboration on Animal Transport Association’ meetings with EAD, providing input related to animal transportation as per the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and other relevant conventions.

The integrated waste management plan created by EAD and Etihad will aim to: reduce waste from different Etihad activities; classify waste based on an approved and sustainable methodology; increase the percentage of the use of recyclable materials and finally, conduct research and implement initiatives to utilize biofuel use.

In conclusion, the MoU will result in Abu Dhabi’s environmental priorities being implemented in the sky, as well as on the land, air and in the sea with this collaboration between the two organisations.