Ryanair has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2050, as part of its new Pathway to Net Zero decarbonisation strategy. This will be a boost to Ryanair’s image if the target is reached, because there is growing demand for ESG transparency and concrete actions. In GlobalData’s 2021 Q3 consumer survey, 19% of respondents took eco-holidays, which shows that an increasing number of travellers are conscious about their impact on the environment. This means that a move by Ryanair to reduce its carbon footprint is likely to gain positive feedback from the public.

The airline industry can use ESG solutions to improve how it is viewed

It is no secret that airlines struggle with a negative ESG image because of the inherent nature of the industry, so this makes working at neutrality, and then promoting what is being done, is very important for companies. However, the initiative set out by Ryanair shows a clear plan to reduce its carbon footprint to be neutral by 2050.

The low-cost carrier plans to achieve 34% of its decarbonisation by switching to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and 32% by making technological and operational improvements. It also intends to to achieve another 24% of its decarbonisation aims through offsetting and other economic measures, as well as the last 10% through improved air traffic management activities.

Following through on promises will be of paramount importance

Plans like this have the effect of boosting the public image of a company, however, this means that the need for them to follow through on promises/plans becomes most important, otherwise it risks damaging the company’s public image. This is because consumers can see through false or empty promises.

Under its Pathway to Net Zero strategy, Ryanair will also focus on offsetting measures through carbon capture offset projects and support for key government policies and reforms, including the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) initiative. SESAR is estimated to deliver an efficient air traffic management process and could lead to a 10% carbon reduction in the European aviation sector, if it is successfully launched by the European Commission. Therefore, prominent European airlines, such as Ryanair, showing support will be welcome.