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Cooperation in Environmental Issues

Basic Concept

Debates on CO2 emissions from international aviation are entrusted to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The airline industry emits about 2% of greenhouse gases globally, and ICAO has set up an ambitious target of capping net emission with CNG2020*1, and improving fuel efficiency by 2% annually per Revenue Ton Kilometers by 2050 from 2005. Similarly, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a target of improving fuel efficiency by 1.5% annually, and halving CO2 emissions by 2050 from 2005. JAL has participated in discussions at ICAO, IATA and other organizations for a long time, and has contributed to address to climate change in the international aviation sector. Currently, ICAO is working on the formulation of the long-term targets for CO2 reduction, and is participating in discussions to fulfill the role of a Japanese airline, in cooperation with the Japanese government which plays a central role in the discussions.

In Japan, efforts to reduce CO2 emissions such as the formulation of the green growth strategy have been accelerating since the government declared carbon neutral in 2050, initiatives through government and people partnerships have also been promoted in the domestic aviation sector. JAL participates in study meetings organized by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to discuss ways to reduce CO2 emissions in each area such as flight operations and airports. As a secretary enterprise of the Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan, JAL is collaborating with a variety of stakeholders to study CO2 reduction targets for 2030 for aviation industry Japan, to utilize SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel), and to develop high-quality, inexpensive carbon credits in Japan.

It is estimated that emission of greenhouse gases in food systems including production, distribution and processing is larger than transportation, around 21 to 37 percent of the world*2. The JAL Group proactively participates in reduction of greenhouse gas emission not only during flight operations but also within the supply chain including production of food, cooperating with various stakeholders for food served inflight or in lounges.

*1 Carbon Neutral Growth 2020: A program to achieve growth, while cutting CO2 emissions from aircraft in and after 2020.

*2 IPCC Special Report on Greenhouse gas fluxes (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

Initiatives with Other Associations

International Civil Aviation Organization Initiatives

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has been discussing and taking measures to protect the environment and formulate long-term plans, including climate change measures. Japan has been elected to the ICAO Council since 1956. As a government advisor, the JAL Group contributes to the design of various environmental systems. In particular, since 2021, Japan has been involved in discussions regarding the design and revision of the CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) system, a growth scheme for international aviation that does not involve an increase in the volume of carbon emissions, involved in the design of the CO2 Credit System and the SAF system, and advised on the formulation of long-term plans for CO2 reduction. Every year, we participate in working groups and task groups that prepare draft proposals. We also attend steering meetings of the annual Environmental Conservation Meeting, the Environmental Conservation Meeting held every three years, and the ICAO General Assembly. As for capacity building of CORSIA, ICAO's support program for developing countries, Japan is also cooperating with the governments of Southeast Asian countries. The JAL Group will continue to actively address climate change in the international aviation sector.

International Air Transport Association Initiatives

International Air Transport Association (IATA) established several goals under ICAO activities. JAL Group contributes in deciding IATA policies concerning the environment and sustainability.

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Initiatives

As a member of Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), a trade association made up of 14 Asian airlines, JAL participates in the annual meeting of the president and CEO, 4 board meetings, Environmental Working Group (EWG), a subcommittee meeting twice a year, and other telephone conferences that are held when necessary. In particular, responding to climate change is an issue that must be addressed by the entire industry, and member companies are exchanging opinions on methods to reduce CO2 emissions, such as fuel-efficient aircrafts, SAF, reducing CO2 in daily operations, and technologies, and are working to resolve the issues. In particular, JAL, as a company already committed to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, is working to ensure a stable supply of SAF.

oneworld alliance Initiatives

In June 2020, the JAL Group set a target of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. In September 2020, all 13 member companies of the oneworld alliance, of which the JAL Group is a member, announced their support for the goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Members of the alliance also share the view that reducing the volume of CO2 emissions is an important issue for airlines, and they are discussing measures to reduce environmental impact.

Participation in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism study group

In 2050, with the aim of realizing a carbon-neutral society, JAL participated in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s “Study Group on CO2 Reduction in the Airport Sector” (participated as an observer), which aims to draw up decarbonization measures at airports in Japan by considering specific measures, such as making airports serve as centers for renewable energy and reducing CO2 emissions from airport facilities and vehicles.
Also, in order to further accelerate and promote efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from all aspects of aircraft operations, from the perspective of Green Recovery (recovery from an environmentally-friendly crisis), with a view to strengthening the international competitiveness of Japanese airlines, we are participating as a member of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Aircraft Operations CO2 Reduction Study Group to conduct a comprehensive and complex study on the direction of initiatives in the Japanese aircraft operations sector. As an airline company, we are actively promoting the stable supply of SAF to reduce CO2 emissions, the cost reduction, infrastructure such as fueling facilities at airports, and our involvement in the development of international environmental rules.

Activities at the Transport Research Institute

Ahead of the launch of the CORSIA program in 2021, we are investigating the regulatory aspects of low-carbon aviation fuels that can be used under the program. We are also participating as a member of the committee in research activities at the Japan Transport Research Institute, as well as in research and awareness raising on CO2 reduction initiatives in the aviation sector, with the aim of raising awareness in the transportation industry other than the aviation sector, including the maritime sector.

Initiatives with Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan

The Scheduled Airline Association of Japan is an airline association consisting of domestic carriers. As the airline industry contact, the JAL Group not only gathers opinions from member air carriers, but also provides ICAO and IATA information to the members, as well as establishes environmental policies for CO2 waste by Keidanren and the use of less plastics, among others. For example, the JAL Group outlined the policies to achieve the goals of reduce CO2 emission per revenue-ton-kilometer by 23 percent from FY2005 by FY2020, as past activies.
Furthermore, we are involved in governmental requests such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)* surveys and NOx emission calculations by airport, among others.
President Akasaka serves as Chairperson, promoting industry-wide initiatives such as reducing the volume of CO2 emissions and introducing SAF. In March 2021, Senior Vice President of the Corporate Planning Division chaired the Scheduled Airlines Association of Japan 1st Environment Committee, which was held to discuss and promote measures to address environmental issues across industries. The committee set the direction of the industry towards SDGs, reducing the volume of CO2 emissions, and promoting the introduction of SAF.

* Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are manmade oily liquid chemicals. They were used in various ways such as insulating oils or solvents for paints and printing ink, however, manufacturing and importing PCBs is prohibited after it was reported that chronic intake causes a number of symptoms when accumulated in the human body.

CO2 Reduction Initiatives

Participation in Ministry of the Environment Support Program

In 2018, the JAL Group participated in the "Support Project for Scenario Analysis of Climate Risks and Opportunities in Accordance with TCFD" supervised by Ministry of the Environment, and with reference to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we set two scenarios for the average rise in temperature to the end of this century: "below 4 °C" and "below 2 °C", and looked at society in 2030. For more information, see Disclosure Based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Aircraft and technology manufacturers, collaboration with universities

Through ICAO and IATA, we are working with manufacturers to continually upgrade to fuel-efficient aircrafts, reduce the weight of aircraft and loads, improve flight efficiency, and improve fuel efficiency through maintenance work. In order to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the impact on the environment, we hold hearings with aircraft manufacturers about zero-emission new aircraft types, such as hydrogen planes and electric planes, and are working with collaboration to resolve technical issues.
JAL Group employees are also dispatched to universities to participate in research on new technologies such as hydrogen aircrafts.

Participation in Industry-Government-Academia Collaboration on Future Air Control Initiatives

The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has established Long-Term Vision for Air Traffic Systems (CARATS *) to make future air traffic systems safer and more efficient and address global issues such as climate change. CARATS is a collaborative initiative between industry, government and academia, and the JAL Group is actively participating in its activities as a member. Specifically, we provide flight data to researchers, cooperate in verification tests using flight simulators, and exchange opinions with JCAB and researchers.

*Collaborative Actions for Renovation of Air Traffic System
* Abbreviation for Collaborative Actions for Renovation of Air Traffic System

Route Planning Technology Improvements

CO2 emissions can be reduced by curtailing the flight distance in the flight paths. JAL Group is collaborating with air transport control authorities in and out of Japan to fly user preferred routes (UPR), a unique flight path for each aircraft under certain restrictions such as weather conditions, among others.
Click here for more details.

SAF Initiatives for dissemination Expansion

The JAL Group aims to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 by replacing 10% of fuel load with SAF by 2030 and reducing total CO2 emissions below 90% level of the actual amount of fiscal year 2019 levels. In regions outside of Japan, we invest to Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., a US venture company that manufactures SAF.

In Japan, with technical support from Green Earth Institute Co., Ltd., we used a bioprocess using microorganisms developed by the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, and spent approximately one year and three months at facilities in Japan to complete the first domestic SAF. On February 4, 2021, Japan's first domestically produced SAF made from cotton clothing exclusively using domestic technology was loaded for the first time on a domestic scheduled flight. In addition, as part of the “Development of Production Technologies for Biojet Fuels” of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese national research and development agency, JAL has conducted a flight with 3,132 liters (9.1% mixing ratio) of SAF produced domestically in Japan added in existing fuel, manufactured by Mitsubishi Power, Ltd., Toyo Engineering Corporation, JERA Co., Inc., and by IHI Corporation. The former is created from wood chips and the latter from algae. It was the world’s first attempt to load 2 different types of SAF on the same flight.

In addition, in order to spread SAF load within Japan, we will connect various stakeholders and build a manufacturing and supply system, as well as contributing to be able to use SAF with sustainable price range. As an initiative, we are conducting a feasibility study with Japanese companies on manufacturing and selling SAF in Japan from waste plastic. For more on the development of SAF and dissemination, see Supporting the Development and Use of SAF.

Engaging in Emissions Trading - JAL Carbon Offsetting -

In response from feedback from customers who have a keen interest in protecting the environment and preventing global warming, the JAL Group, in collaboration with blue dot green Inc., offers passengers the option to offset the CO2 emitted by the aircraft they fly on through our JAL Carbon Offset program. See JAL Carbon Offsetting.


Cooperation in Climate Change Studies

From 1993, the JAL Group has been observing the atmosphere with the Meteorological Research Institute and JAL Foundation. From 2005 the CONTRAIL Project continues today with the National Institute for Environmental Studies and JAMCO Corporation.
Greenhouse gases data, which was observed from scheduled international flights and officially announced through the national Institute for Environmental Studies, is being used in a number of global research studies. In 2018, 1,424 observations were made from JAL flights and the reported data was used in three peer-reviewed thesis, and as reference materials in nine international academic conferences and six domestic academic conferences.
In March 2019, the CONTRAIL Project was awarded the Minister of Environment Award of the First Japan Open Innovation Prize (JOIP).

Use of Plant-based Meat

Recently, there are more people eating less animal-based meat and selecting plant-based meat, considering their health. Japan Airlines serves plant-based "Beyond Burger" by Beyond Meat, Inc. located in El Segundo, California, USA. It is said that Beyond Burger uses 99% less water, 93% less deforestation, and generates 90% fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions than standard stockbreeding.
In addition, by the suggestion of Yuki Tanaka (Ise Sueyoshi), a collaboration chef of our inflight meals, we currently have the choice of menu mainly consisting of vegetables and not including animal-based ingredients, for non-vegetarian customers in economy class, by using granular soy bean protein as plant-based meat and specially cooking it to make chicken soboro (minced meat) in some of our international flights departing Japan.
We consider that using plant-based meat helps address the 4 social issues, concerns related to human health, climate change, resource conservation and animal welfare.

Development of a sustainable inflight meal

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), only 12 types of crops and 5 types of animal products account for 75% of the global food supply. This imbalance is said to cause problems such as climate change, vulnerability to pests, and loss of biodiversity, as well as health effects due to nutritional imbalance.
The JAL Group has developed a sustainable inflight meal under the supervision of global food producer Ms. Fumiko Kono, referring to the "50 Foodstuffs of the Future" that consists solely of vegetarian foods, and providing it in business classes on some routes. The "50 Foodstuffs of the Future" is a list of foodstuffs released by Unilever in collaboration with the UK World Wildlife Fund (WWF), aiming to solve the world's food problems such as starvation, which is a concern due to expected population growth *, from the viewpoints of greenhouse gas emissions at the production stage, environmental impact, resistance to climate change and pests, nutritional value, soil resilience by production, and farmland area control.
In developing inflight meals, we will continue to take on the challenge of creating sustainable inflight meals for the future, not only by paying attention to the taste but also by solving a variety of social issues.

* According to the United Nations' 2019 Data Booklet, the world's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050.

JAL expresses support for Food Systems Summit 2021("FSS2021") which is held to promote concrete actions for the transformation to sustainable food systems. The JAL Group’s commitment is stated in the UN FSS2021 websiteOpen link in a new window.

Service Delivery Collaboration

JAL Group is participating in Mobility as a Service (MaaS)* activities to improve customer convenience by collaborating with other means of transportation such as railways operators.

* Mobility as a Service is a service using all means of transportation to provide a seamless transportation system.

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