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Heathrow: Shaping an aviation sector fit for a carbon-constrained world

Carol Hui is Chief of Staff and General Counsel at Heathrow Airport. Heathrow is Europe’s busiest international airport, handling about 80 million passengers annually. It is a critical gateway to the UK and has been a long-standing supporter of action on climate change and is a member of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change.

In this interview with Paul Begley, CISL’s Director for Strategy Programmes, Carol Hui discusses how Heathrow has embedded sustainability and galvanised leaders across the organisation to deliver its decarbonisation strategy.

 

Carol Hui InterviewHere is the three-minute read which covers:

  • Key drivers for supporting the transition to a net zero carbon emission economy.
  • The big wins achieved through Heathrow’s decarbonisation strategy.
  • Perception of colleagues and partners on climate change activities.
  • Reflections on the impact of Covid-19 on aviation and lessons for the industry.
  • Benefits of working with other businesses from other sectors on the climate change agenda.
  • Recommendations for people looking to lead change within business.

 

"Engaging on climate change proactively is a moral, ethical and economic necessity. We really don’t have a choice.  For Heathrow, the impact of aviation on climate change is an existential issue.  To survive, we have to move to a Net Zero carbon future.  Aviation is a hard-to-abate sector, but the challenge is not impossible.  So, we need to focus on feasible solutions and to deliver these in an orderly way, as rapidly as we can."

 

"Climate change is a matter for each and every one of us.  Although we have functional responsibilities and specialists in the area of carbon, we also have a wider view of the need for all of us to take ownership for this issue.  Most of our team recognise that we have an unrivalled opportunity at Heathrow for action now and many realise that our industry needs to do more on climate change."

 

"For our industry, Heathrow’s practice is often at the leading edge. Our size, scale and degree of influence mean that others will look to what Heathrow is doing and will tend to follow suit.  For this reason, we are very conscious of the role we have to play as a responsible business."

 

"Remember the butterfly effect: it takes one person to initiate a conversation, stimulate the debate that could result in action and change. No one is too small or insignificant to lead change."