Philippe Lacamp, Senior Vice President, Cathay Pacific Airways, will close ELEMCON with his Plenary Session, Creating an All-Encompassing Strategy. We asked him to preview his presentation.
Q. Tell us a about the global airline industry’s goals.
A. We are moving beyond a “patchwork quilt” of regulatory environments and treaties duplicating many of the carbon fees coming onto the market. We have asked instead, “How can be have a demonstrable goal for reducing the industry’s carbon footprint worldwide?” The industry is now committed as a whole to carbon-neutral growth from 2020.
Q. How will that affect your airline?
A. We will need to use an offset mechanism to cap carbon emissions above the baseline set in 2020.
Q. How does running an international operation hinder you from reaching your goals?
A. Using offsets to meet the goals adds cost, but we recognize the responsibility we have to our industry to impact the environment less. We were in fact one of the leaders in pushing for an industry-wide agreement. We’re pushing hard in addition on the use of second generation biofuels to actually reduce carbon emissions.
Q. How would you advise industries outside the airlines industry?
A. There’s no “one size fits all” approach at the granular level. But it’s important to agree on a principle. The airlines industry agreed it produces carbon emissions that need to be reduced. Simply said, can your industry take on responsibility for its environmental impact? If a whole industry can embrace a scheme where all players are effected to the same degree, there’s no competitive distortion.
Q. What do you hope attendees will take away from your presentation?
A. I hope they’ll take away a sense of optimism. The advances being made around renewable fuels in particular and the increasing awareness of the role of carbon emissions is a very positive story. It’s incumbent on business to earn the right to be in business. That means grappling with profoundly large issues, which we are doing. And we’re making considerable headway.