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Consuming responsibly

Responsible consumption

Emirates is committed to reducing our environmental impact through responsible consumption - by making careful decisions about what items we purchase, how we source them, how we manage the disposal of waste, and how we consume water and power.

With the scale of our worldwide operations, even a small change can make a big positive impact. We are currently working to embed an environmental requirement in our suppliers' code of conduct.

Every single one of the 50,000 to 60,000 items on each Emirates flight is carefully sourced to ensure we live up to our “fly better” promise - from the food we serve, to the toiletries, safety equipment, and bed linen.

We prioritise suppliers that can demonstrate ethical and sustainable practices, while delivering good value and quality. Where feasible, we source from in and around the region to keep a low carbon footprint.

For instance, our 27-year partnership with Dilmah Tea (Opens in a new window). Dilmah has achieved carbon neutrality (Opens in a new window) for its product, and we serve its teas in all cabin classes, on all our flights. Its tea bags are made from natural sources and are compostable.

We’ve made progress in reducing the use of single-use plastics onboard. Paper straws have been introduced, plastic swizzle sticks replaced with wooden alternatives, and paper bags used in place of plastic for inflight retail purchases. These three initiatives (Opens in a new window) alone will remove an estimated 81.7 million single-use plastic items from landfill each year. We’ve conducted a full review of single-use plastics used on board, and where feasible, we will gradually phase out or replace these items, and implement other initiatives to tackle plastic waste.

In 2017, we introduced cosy blankets in Economy Class that are each made from 28 recycled plastic bottles. By the end of this year, we'll have saved 88 million plastic bottles from landfill from this initiative alone. 

Trials have been conducted to explore recycling initiatives on board and Emirates staff and cabin crew constantly give feedback and suggestions on other environmentally-friendly ideas. For instance, fuelled by a cabin crew member’s suggestion, we’ve been segregating large plastic bottles on board to be recycled in Dubai. This diverts an estimated 3 tonnes or about 150,000 plastic bottles from landfill in Dubai each month.

On the ground, we have established recycling collection points for waste paper, cans and bottles at our key facilities in Dubai. We also run staff awareness campaigns on water and electricity usage, and have tested and implemented water saving features on taps across our corporate facilities. 

We also look for relevant opportunities to upcycle. For instance in 2019, we worked with local community partners in South Africa (Opens in a new window) and Nigeria (Opens in a new window) to re-purpose old advertising billboards into bags for school children.