The Lufthansa Group stands for responsible mobility

The Lufthansa Group strives to operate sustainably and responsibly in all areas of its business. The fuel efficiency activities are based on the four-pillar strategy for climate protection. In the following interview, Dr. Karlheinz Haag, Vice President Group Environmental Issues, explains the role of aviation at the World Climate Change Conference in Bonn (November 6 – 17 ,2017) and the importance of climate and environmental responsibility for Lufthansa Group.

Dr. Haag, what is the Lufthansa Group doing about climate and environmental responsibility?

The Lufthansa Group stands for responsible mobility. We do our utmost to limit the environmental impact of flying and to use the necessary resources as efficiently as possible. This is a particular challenge, as the demand for mobility is growing year after year. In 2008, we launched our strategic environmental program that outlines our climate and environmental responsibility in 15 guidelines.

Can you give us a few examples?

Our programs are consistently based on the "four-pillar strategy" for climate protection in aviation. These four pillars are as follows: technological progress, optimizing operational procedures, improving infrastructure and making use of market-based instruments. There are areas here which the aviation industry can directly influence, such as operational measures and of course, and most importantly, investment in new, lower-emission and also quieter aircraft. Cooperations and partnerships are also very important.

Our programs are consistently based on the "four-pillar strategy" for climate protection in aviation.

Dr. Karlheinz Haag
Vice President Environmental Issues
Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Why is aviation being largely ignored at the World Climate Change Conference “COP23” in Bonn – as it was at the 2015 Paris Conference?

As far back as the Kyoto Protocol, it became evident that nationally-based instruments are not appropriate for international aviation or maritime traffic. That is why the UN organization responsible for aviation was asked to develop its own set of rules. The International Civil Aviation Organization, the ICAO, has fulfilled this mandate and, in October 2016, it adopted the international climate protection instrument CORSIA.

What does this mean for the aviation industry?

CORSIA is intended to compensate for growth-related CO2 emissions from aviation, from 2020 onwards. If more CO2 is emitted, then the burden must be compensated for by climate protection projects. Incidentally, international aviation is the first and - to date - the only industrial sector with a global CO2 emissions target. Put into context – the widely respected agreement of the UN Climate Change Conference held in Paris contains no comparable stipulations.


From 6 to 17 November 2017, the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference under the Presidency of Fiji will be held in Bonn. "COP 23" is the abbreviated name for this international United Nations conference (Conference of the Parties or COP). The focus of COP 23 will be the further elaboration of the historic Paris Agreement of 2015. Climate action initiatives and projects will also be presented and discussed at the conference, which is expected to attract around 30,000 participants.


Climate protection agreement for the aviation industry

On October 6, 2016, within the framework of the United Nation's civil aviation body the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), the international community approved a global climate agreement for aviation – as of 2021 onwards; CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is intended to compensate for growth-related CO2 emissions in international air transport by means of CO2 savings made in climate protection projects. The new system will be introduced in two stages. From 2021 to 2026, participation will be on a voluntary basis. Only in the second phase—from 2027 to 2035—will it become legally binding for member states. Together with others in the industry, the Lufthansa Group has been campaigning for many years for a climate agreement and welcomes the fact that a mutual decision of the member states has now been reached at UN level.

Further information

Four pillars for climate protection

Lufthansa Group works continuously on optimizing operations-related measures on the ground and in the air, and to make processes even more efficient in order to reduce fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions over the long-term. A four pillar model for climate protection was developed in cooperation with other airlines. This agenda covers the entire scope of feasible measures.

Technological progress

Improved infrastructure

Operational measures

Economic measures


  • Innovation in aircraft and engine technologies
  • Alternative fuels


  • Improved use of airspace
  • Airport infrastructures adapted to needs


  • More efficient aircraft sizes
  • Optimal flight routes and speeds
  • Optimized processes on the ground


  • A global, sensibly designed, market-based system for reducing emissions to complement the other three pillars.

Four-pillar strategy: The Group’s Sustainability report Balance presents the current programs and measures in the field of fuel efficiency.