Boeing's 2017 Environment Report: 2016 Goals at a Glance

Advancing environmental strategy in all areas; out-performing goals and overcoming challenges
Jun 21, 2017 4:45 PM ET

**This is the second article in a series focusing on The Boeing Company's environmental performance and progress in 2016. Visit for more information.**

Boeing’s commitment to global environmental leadership is focused on key goals and targets which reflect the three tenets of our environmental strategy.

Inspire Global Collaboration, Design in Environmental Performance and Innovate for Sustainable Operations support our core beliefs:

  • Partnering with community, customers and employees to advance our environmental goals.

  • Improving the environmental performance of Boeing products to benefit our customers, our company, our employees and our planet.

  • Reducing the environmental impact of Boeing operations and facilities to benefit local communities.

Inspire Global Collaboration

Work with customers and industry groups on testing and demonstrating advanced, environmentally cleaner technologies.

To speed up development of new technologies that enhance safety and reduce fuel use, emissions and noise, Boeing has completed four ecoDemonstrator flight-test programs in the past five years. The programs tested some 60 technologies using a 737 (2012), 787 Dreamliner (2014), 757 (2015) and an Embraer E170 regional jet (2016, and the first such collaboration between two airplane manufacturers).

Boeing and Embraer tested several technologies, including:

Enhancing safety and efficiency—An optical air data system called LIDAR, which stands for light detection and ranging, can potentially save weight and drag and provide a backup source for pitot tubes. These tubes protrude from the fuselage and measure air speed, atmospheric pressure, external temperature and other parameters.

Reducing noise—A new design for leading-edge slats on the front of the airplane’s wings reduced unsteady airflows, which lowers the noise level as the airplane is on approach.

Ice-phobic paint—A new “icephobic” paint was shown to improve the airplane’s ability to shed ice and would also require less washing.

Lowering emissions—A 10 percent biofuel blend made from Brazilian sugar cane was used during all test flights. Scientific studies have shown that biofuels reduce life-cycle emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared with fossil fuel.

Boeing is now planning for its 2018 ecoDemonstrator program, which will use a 777 for flight testing focused on a new lightweight compact thrust reverser and flight operations automation.

Support the development of a viable sustainable aviation fuel market.

Boeing continues to be a leader in the aviation industry for developing and commercializing sustainable aviation fuels, which represent aviation’s greatest opportunity to reduce carbon emissions, meet the industry’s environmental goals and support long-term sustainable growth.

Substantial progress has been made on dozens of collaborative projects around the world with near- and longterm potential to deliver sustainable aviation fuel to airline customers. For example, in South Africa, Boeing partnered with South African Airways and low-cost carrier Mango to fly Africa’s first flights powered by a 30 percent blend of biofuel produced from solaris, a nicotine-free tobacco plant grown by farmers in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

In the United States, Boeing supported the Port of Seattle and Alaska Airlines on a study that found the best initial solution to provide biofuel to every departure at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is a small, on-site receiving and blending facility.

In the coming years, we will accelerate our investment in the development of sustainable biofuels.

Support a global industrywide approach for aviation carbon dioxide emissions.

Through collaboration with global stakeholders over several years, Boeing supported development and adoption of two complementary global carbon emission–reduction measures agreed to in 2016 by ICAO.

All new commercial aircraft types will be required to meet ICAO’s fuel efficiency standards as they are implemented by member nations over the next several years. Our new commercial airplanes have been designed to meet and exceed the challenging requirements.

Airlines flying between participating nations will begin adopting a market-based carbon-offset program known as CORSIA. So far, 65 nations have committed to participate, which represents more than 80 percent of the growth in emissions from international aviation after 2020. Offset credits purchased through the program, which will be assessed to ensure they meet stringent environmental integrity criteria, will finance projects to reduce CO2 emissions, many in developing countries.

Invest in organizations and projects that will benefit the environment globally and in the communities in which we operate.

Boeing has strong partnerships with community environmental leaders who help us ensure that projects support economic, social and environmental progress.

In 2016, Boeing committed further resources to help The Nature Conservancy (TNC) scale the land management community work they conduct in Indonesia for Brazil and Mexico. In addition, Boeing partners with TNC on domestic projects in Washington, Arizona, Missouri and South Carolina to help communities develop plans and models to improve the health and security of their water resources. The support from Boeing and other organizations is helping communities across the globe manage more than 6.5 million acres (2.6 million hectares) of land.

Additionally, we are working with experts in Puget Sound to test green infrastructure solutions to mitigate pollution from storm water runoff and improve overall water quality.

Design in Environmental Performance

Reduce the environmental footprint of Boeing products throughout the product life cycle.

Development of new, more efficient Boeing airplanes continues on schedule:

  • The 737 MAX entered service in 2017. The new aircraft, which includes a new winglet tested on the ecoDemonstrator, will be 20 percent more fuel efficient and have a 40 percent smaller noise footprint than the original Next- Generation 737.

  • The first 787-10 is in flight test. This airplane will achieve approximately 25 percent better fuel efficiency than the airplanes it replaces.

  • We opened the 777X Composite Wing Center and completed the first wing panel prototype. The 777X will reduce fuel consumption 18 percent compared to its closest competitor and significantly lower its noise footprint.

Improve operational efficiency across Boeing products and services.

We continue to make progress in reducing both emissions and noise through better flight operations. Boeing is implementing new airport arrival and departure procedures in several European and Asian countries that reduce miles flown and emissions.

In 2016, we conducted demonstrations with Delta and United Airlines during multiple arrivals to San Francisco Airport highlighting the use of airplane technology, such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) landing system (GLS).

GLS integrates satellite and ground based navigation data to provide the position information required for approach and landing guidance. This system significantly improves takeoff and landing capability at airports at lower cost, emissions and noise levels.

The success of this demonstration enabled the airport to begin the process of installing the ground system for improved all-weather access to all runways and reduced environmental impacts.

Work with aviation stakeholders to ensure that all Boeing products comply with chemical restrictions and bans.

We are continuing to monitor and assess global chemical regulations for potential impact to Boeing products. An example is complying with Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations in the European Union. We are coordinating with our research and technology organization and across our supply chain for safe and sustainable alternatives to substances targeted for restrictions or bans. Where alternatives do not exist, we are continuing our research while communicating with regulatory agencies or applying for and supporting authorization for continued use until alternatives can be identified, rigorously evaluated for compliance with performance and safety requirements, and implemented.

Boeing will continue to speed development and implementation of viable and environmentally responsible chemical alternatives. We also work with the aerospace industry through the International Aerospace Environmental Group (IAEG) to advance development of the Aerospace and Defense Declarable Substance List (AD-DSL) and the associated Materials Declaration Standard for Aerospace and Defense (IPC-1754) for supplier reporting. These resources enable our suppliers to report chemical content of supplier-designed parts more efficiently and help ensure our compliance with global chemical regulations.

Internally, Boeing is implementing tools and processes, such as the Chemical Hazard Assessment, to enable engineers and technologists to compare hazards between alternative materials and select environmentally preferred solutions that meet design and performance requirements.

Innovate for Sustainable Operations

Protect human health and the environment by cleaning and restoring locations affected by past practices.

We made significant progress in 2016 on our inventory of 65 remediation sites, including advancing six projects—in Renton, Auburn and Everett, Washington; Santa Susana and Long Beach, California; and Pools Prairie, Missouri—by achieving key regulatory milestones. In addition, we furthered our site restoration goals by renewing or initiating habitat certifications at four sites, including the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California, Plant 2 in Washington, and the Emery landfill and Chemical Commodities Inc. (CCI) projects in Kansas.

In June 2016, Boeing and other members of the Plant 2 Sediment Remediation and Urban Waterway Restoration project team accepted the World Organization of Dredging Associations’ Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Dredging for our Plant 2 dredging and habitat project.

Maintain 2012 levels for greenhouse gas emissions, water intake, solid waste to landfill and hazardous waste.

In 2016, we out-performed our plan to be at or below the 2012 baseline for all of the metrics we track, even as we increase commercial airplane production. (Note: Hazardous waste generation targets are on a revenue adjusted basis.)

Boeing continues to focus on reducing the waste it sends to landfills by improving production processes to reduce the amount of material used, researching waste recycling methods and markets for excess carbon fiber, as well as continuing to expand our enhanced recycling program.

We are currently developing our next set of targets for 2018 to 2025.