DUBAI: Emirates has zero tolerance for carrying banned species, hunting trophies or any products associated with illegal wildlife activities.
On World Environment Day today, it said in a press statement that the airline’s ground-handling team is trained in IATA’s Live Animal Regulations and its internal policies, and more than 2,500 airport services employees were trained last year to recognise and report suspicious cargo.
Employees have access to a dedicated reporting channel to stop illegal trade. Customer awareness was heightened through interviews, wildlife programmes and films on ice, its inflight entertainment system and the inflight magazine.
Emirates said it is aware of its role in the planet’s natural ecosystem and has continued to make progress in the attainment of its environmental goals. The airline also showcased this environment performance in its annual financial report for 2019-20.
The airline said it is committed to tackling the illegal trade in the sale of wild animals either as pets, or for their hides, tusks or other body parts for use in food, medicine, exotic leathers, jewellery and ornaments – all worth around $20 billion every year.
It said it is active across industry and international efforts, and is part of United for Wildlife, ROUTES (Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species), and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The airline has also been helping protect Australia’s extraordinary flora and fauna for over 10 years at Emirates Wolgan Valley, the conservation-based resort in New South Wales. The resort worked closely with the local community to evacuate on-site animals as bushfires swept across the country last year. Involving guests who were keen to volunteer, the resort created a one million-plus seed bank, representing 25 local native species that will play a vital role in repopulating damaged areas. Native wildlife like kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, reptiles and birdlife have already returned to the area.
Emirates’ 20-year partnership with the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) continued to build on its successful programmes to track, maintain and reintroduce native wildlife species, such as the Arabian oryx, Arabian gazelle and sand gazelle. In January, the reserve released 250 MacQueen’s bustards into its natural habitat – a remarkable achievement by any standard.
The DDCR continues to be a regional leader in ecological research, actively collaborating with local and international universities. The reserve was accepted as a candidate for the IUCN Green List for Protected and Conserved Areas, a global standard for the world’s most effectively managed of protected areas, in 2018.
Reducing carbon emissions is central to Emirates’ environmental sustainability strategy, which is underpinned by its young, technologically advanced fleet with an average age of just 6.8 years. The airline’s comprehensive fuel efficiency programme, which analyses and implements ways to reduce unnecessary fuel burn and emissions wherever operationally feasible, delivered a 1.9 per cent improvement in passenger fuel efficiency for the full year. The airline’s efforts to optimise flight plans and fuel uplift, while ensuring safety and operational integrity, alone saved an estimated 38,000 tonnes of fuel or around 120,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This was supported by data-driven methodologies and awareness programmes for pilots.