Etihad partners with EAD to reduce environmental impact

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the UAE, have joined forces by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that outlines cooperation on many important environmental projects.

The projects have all been developed to comply with international challenges and the environmental agenda of Abu Dhabi.


Globally relevant priorities have been chosen by the EAD-Etihad partnership, which includes reducing single-use plastics on flights, evaluating carbon pollution offsets and protecting and preserving biodiversity through awareness campaigns and in-flight entertainment screenings. In addition, across Etihad’s operations, both parties will cooperate on an integrated and sustainable waste management strategy.

Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, said, “Within Abu Dhabi, we have seen a large number of prominent organizations all working towards collaborating with EAD on the conservation of the environment and Etihad is one of them.”

Successful partnership

The MoU is the next step in the successful partnership between EAD and Etihad, who partnered with Al Wathba Protected Area for the Year of Zayed Birdathon, which saw 10 flamingos monitored by satellite. Etihad has also been screening the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s ‘Back to the Wild’ and ‘Zayed’s Antarctic Lights’ wildlife documentaries. The Agency also had an ambassador on last year’s Earth Day on Etihad’s World Record Long Haul Single-Use, Plastic-Free Flight, between Abu Dhabi and Brisbane.

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Tony Douglas
Etihad Aviation Group.

“The drive to sustainable aviation and cleaner skies is a fundamental principle for Etihad Airways and a shared objective with Abu Dhabi as we strive to reduce the historic reliance on oil and diversify the local economy, in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 social and economic plan. As the agency essentially responsible for reaching the environmental objectives of the country, the EAD is helping to lead the way to a sustainable future for the UAE. Working together to build on our shared objectives and existing partnerships, the EAD and Etihad are able to put our vision and innovation to practice, developing real-world solutions to environmental challenges that will have immediate and long term benefits, not only for the UAE but for global consumers and communities.”

Single-use plastics

The MoU stipulates that Etihad will commit to the reduction of single-use plastics by 2022, which is at least 80 percent lower than that of 2020, as part of the single-use plastic program. EAD will use its environmental policy experience to advise and assist Etihad to help them accomplish this goal. In line with the Abu Dhabi Single-Use Plastic Policy that was introduced in February of this year, EAD will also help identify plastic items and their sustainable alternatives.

Carbon emissions

In order to minimize and mitigate carbon emissions and toxic pollutants, both organizations will formulate mutually beneficial climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and actively encourage the reduction of carbon footprints and carbon offsetting. In addition, innovative programs will be developed and introduced to mitigate air pollution from Etihad’s operations.

In line with the strategic objective of the EAD for the conservation and awareness creation of biodiversity, Etihad will display regular environmental features on the climate, biodiversity and ecotourism and host a sustainable environmental channel that will highlight EAD documentaries as well as the most important sustainability initiatives currently underway through its in-flight entertainment content.

Waste Management

The goal of the Integrated Waste Management Plan established by EAD and Etihad is to minimize waste from the various activities of Etihad, classify waste on the basis of an accepted and sustainable methodology, increase the percentage of recyclable materials used and, finally, undertake research and incorporate biofuel usage initiatives.

The partnership between the two organizations would result in the implementation of Abu Dhabi’s environmental goals in the sky, as well as on land, air and sea.