Sustainable development


Aviation is one of the world’s great connectors of people, enabling a vast amount of trade and tourism. It enhances the prosperity of communities it serves and provides jobs, economic growth and opportunities. The industry does, however, recognise that these undoubted benefits come at an environmental cost. This is why ATAG and the wider industry is committed to addressing its environmental impacts, while continuing to provide these social and economic benefits.   

Sustainable development takes the three areas of economy, society and environment and finds ways of balancing the three interests to produce the results that will benefit most people. The subject first hit the global spotlight in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit where the world's governments developed a number of key international agreements, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2012, the UN again met in Rio de Janeiro to chart progress on sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (otherwise known as Rio+20).

ATAG coordinated aviation industry representation at Rio+20. It gave the air transport sector a chance to outline the sustainable development actions it is already taking and further work with governments on the challenges of providing economic growth and meeting environmental responsibilities.

In 2015, the United Nations announced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was accompanied by a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

logo colorIn July 2016, ATAG published the third edition of Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, to explore how aviation can support the sustainable development through the lens of the SDGs. The report sets out the ways in which aviation contributes to the economy, jobs, the lives of millions of people around the world and how it is addressing its environmental impacts.

“We found that air transport in some way supports 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, from decent work and economic growth to quality education and reduced inequalities. By continuing to grow in a sustainable manner, aviation can strive to be a force for good for many years to come.”, says Michael Gill, Executive Director of ATAG.

To further explore aviation’s role in supporting the SDGs, ATAG created a publication called ‘Flying in Formation’, which sets out existing industry action on each of the SDGs, as well as providing practical advice on what individual organisations can do to improve their contribution to the goals.

Check out the website: Aviation: benefits beyond borders