“Nothing big, nothing bold, nothing important ever happens without starting with the end in mind… whether it be SAF, whether it be technologies like RISE, I think the industry is going to work hard to do the best we can between now and 2050.”
Two years since the aviation industry set an ambitious goal* of achieving net zero by 2050, GE Aerospace commissioned a global survey to examine the progress. The survey, conducted by Ipsos, shows broad industry alignment on and investment in sustainability but recognizes that accelerated support is needed to meet the challenge.
A total of 325 aviation decision makers in six countries participated in the survey in May 2023, representing the U.S., U.K., China, India, UAE and France. 76% of respondents believing sustainability has fundamentally changed the way the industry operates and a majority of those with sustainability strategies in place indicate that their company sustainability investments will grow or remain steady, even amid rising inflation and risk of recession. Read more about the results.
* In October 2021, members of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), including GE Aerospace, adopted a long-term climate goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, confirming the aviation industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions in support of the Paris Agreement.
Key findings from GE Aerospace’s survey
Amidst myriad issues, aviation leaders identified sustainability as the top challenge TODAY.
- 30% say meeting aviation’s sustainability goal is the #1 current challenge, even over supply chain and labor issues.
- 67% agree that the aviation industry is united in its focus on implementing sustainability solutions.
- Respondents are split as to whether progress is happening at the right pace, with 51% saying it is too slow, adding a sense of urgency to a longer-term target.
Companies report they are putting their money where their mouth is on sustainability...
- 76% say the focus on sustainability has fundamentally changed the way the industry operates.
- 88% of companies already have a sustainability strategy in place.
- More than 70% say their sustainability strategy is having an impact on how they invest and operate.
- 74% say their company sustainability investments will be maintained or grow even in the face of inflation or recession.
…But accelerated support is needed to reach net zero by 2050.
- While a plurality (46%) believe the industry will meet its net zero goal by 2050, 32% say it will not, and 22% are unsure.
- On average, respondents believe the target will be met by 2055.
- The biggest hurdles are a mix of rising costs, funding, supply issues, and energy resources.
- Respondents believe advancements in both fuels and engines will play the biggest role in reaching the 2050 goal.
Government has a key role to play.
- 29% of respondents identified government as providing the most pressure to decarbonize, followed by investors at 17%.
- There is a clear role for government to play in support of these efforts, with 61% showing a preference for incentives and policy support over mandates and regulation.
- Respondents rank increased sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) investment as the number one most important role for government to play in reaching the 2050 goal.