Interview with Bettina Jansen on the Lufthansa Cargo environmental management system



A few years ago, the environmental management system was introduced at Lufthansa Cargo. When was that, and what were the goal and trigger?

The environment has played a significant role at Lufthansa Cargo for a long time. CO2 data and air traffic noise data were already measured and evaluated in the 1990s.

The decision to introduce an environmental management system was made in 2007.
Our aim was to set up environmental topics in a structured manner with responsibilities and processes in order to achieve continuous improvement. That is the goal of any management system: structure and continuous improvement.

The trigger at that time was to give the topic more importance within Lufthansa Cargo.


What is considered and steered within the framework of such a system?

In an environmental management system, all processes are assessed for their environmental relevance and assigned corresponding targets, which are regularly reviewed and revised.

A prerequisite for this is documentation of environmental impacts, relevant environmental legislation and changing framework conditions.

If there are new requirements in waste legislation, these must be implemented. Or, to go to another level: If the EU introduces a new regulation such as the EU Taxonomy, we have to check its relevance for our business.

The aim is always to manage environmental impacts and risks, and to find new fields of action for CO2 reduction.


But how is that possible, or how do you manage such a system?

This is only possible because environmental coordinators are appointed in each process and at the stations worldwide to perform the tasks mentioned and “turn over every stone.” For example, we have an environmental coordinator in flight operations, in handling or in real estate management, and at stations such as Munich, Singapore or New York.

One success factor is therefore the environmental organization and the regular exchange of information between them, which we ensure centrally. Since everyone is an expert in their respective field, we can recognize and realize potentials. For example, we work together on the topic of lightweight loading and loading accessories or have established a green purchasing process. We have also drawn up a strategy for dealing with plastic foil, which is being implemented together by our environmental coordinators in purchasing, handling and at the stations: They are optimizing processes and testing new types of foil that we use to protect our freight on the apron.


What is particularly important for Lufthansa Cargo?

It is particularly important for us that our environmental management system involves all levels and areas: from the Board of Management to the colleagues who ensure operations.

It is also important that it is established worldwide: With our 44 environmental coordinators, we have an overview of developments in the various countries and can provide impulses to the organization.

Our goal is to involve as many colleagues as possible, because green decisions can be made everywhere – big and small. We have already laid the foundation for a “green DNA.”


How do they measure success? Is there also external control?

We measure successes by introducing KPIs. All measures are provided with a target definition and a target date. As mentioned above, these are regularly reviewed by us.

Our management system is certified according to the international environmental standard ISO14001. In order to maintain this certification, we demonstrate annually to external auditors that the requirements of the standard are being met and that the system is functioning and being lived at all levels. To this end, random samples of selected processes and stations are examined and numerous interviews are conducted. This year, the Fuel Efficiency Team will certainly be visited again during flight operations, in which, among other things, all introduced or planned measures will be evaluated with regard to their potential CO2 savings.

We consider the external certification according to ISO 14001 to be important, especially because it is internationally recognized and thus accepted, and also required, by all customers and investors.


What does the future hold for you in terms of further development of the environmental management system?

The topic of sustainability is now a field of action in our corporate strategy. Innovations are becoming more important, reporting requirements are increasing, and targets such as CO2 neutrality in 2050 must be achieved.
Our Board of Management is making a correspondingly strong commitment to this. However, we will also extend the scope of the environmental management system to other subsidiaries and involve environmental coordinators more intensively in order to also extend steadily topics such as the “Green Office.”

With our environmental management system, we are well positioned to identify risks and seize opportunities in the future.


Thank you for talking to us, Ms. Jansen.