CDB Aviation Releases First Sustainability Report

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by KnowESG
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CDB Aviation, an Irish subsidiary fully owned by China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (CDB Leasing), has issued its first sustainability report titled "Rising to the Challenge."

According to Jie Chen, CEO of CDB Aviation, the company acknowledges the significant threat climate change poses to the planet, society, and the economy. As such, the aviation industry, like all others, must make a shift towards a low-carbon future. Chen contends that sustainable aviation requires an industry-wide approach that can only be achieved through cooperation and coordination. In this context, aircraft lessors have a crucial role to play in this transition.

CDB Aviation established a Sustainability Working Group in 2022, which aimed to create an all-encompassing sustainability strategy. The group's objective was to consolidate the lessor's efforts in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) areas and to define actionable steps the company could take to enhance its sustainability performance in the coming years.

Jie Chen, the CEO of CDB Aviation, highlights the significance of the company's first sustainability report in its sustainability journey. According to Chen, the company is dedicated to promoting positive change in the industry and working towards a better future collaboratively. As part of this commitment, Chen expresses pride in the launch of their sustainability strategy.

CDB Aviation's sustainability strategy, which is comprehensive and spans the next three years, aims to establish clear actions in two significant categories. The first category involves actions that focus on "Managing Our Impact" as a business, while the second concentrates on "Maximising Our Influence" to drive progress across the industry.

Managing Our Impacts: CDB Aviation aims to proactively manage the significant sustainability risks and opportunities faced by its business.

The company plans to minimise the environmental impact of its fleet and operations continuously by investing in the latest and most fuel-efficient aircraft, retiring older planes, and collaborating with finance providers to explore sustainable finance opportunities. CDB Aviation also aims to establish industry-leading practices concerning employee well-being and development. This includes formalising its approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and dedicating itself to community initiatives through a CSR programme. The company aims to establish a robust governance framework that incorporates sustainability and strengthens related areas such as supply chain management.

Maximising Our Influence: CDB Aviation plans to leverage collaborative efforts and form partnerships with other stakeholders in the aviation industry to drive progress in three critical areas:

  • Accelerating innovation in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and new technology;

  • Advancing initiatives on DEI; and

  • Strengthening advocacy and sustainability leadership.

CDB Aviation currently operates a fleet of 273 aircraft, with an average age of 4.4 years. Of these, 125 are the latest generation models, including the A320neo Family, A330neo, A350, 737 MAX, and 787 aircraft. These models are 20–25% more fuel-efficient and emit fewer CO2 emissions per seat compared to older-generation aircraft. The company has improved the fleet's efficiency on an Available Seat Kilometre (ASK) basis by 12% since 2018.

Under the CDB Aviation Sustainable Fleet Initiative, the company aims to have 60% new-generation aircraft by the end of 2025, as measured by aircraft count. To achieve this goal, CDB Aviation has been actively managing its portfolio by phasing out older generation aircraft and acquiring new ones from its order book. This has resulted in the proportion of new-generation aircraft increasing from 12% in 2018 to 46% at present, with the target of reaching 60% by 2025.

CDB Aviation's sustainability strategy is rooted in the belief that the lessor must address the sustainability risks and opportunities that will shape the aviation industry's and the world's future. The company acknowledges that its long-term success is linked to sustainability and is committed to being part of the solution. Chen expresses confidence that the challenges ahead can be met through collaboration and collective effort.

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Source: CDB Aviation

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