The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

Home / case studies / Case study: How Delta helps improve air quality around airports

Case study: How Delta helps improve air quality around airports

As a global aviation industry leader, providing scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo throughout the United States and around the world, with over 180 million customers and more than 15,000 daily flights, Delta is committed to being environmentally responsible  Tweet This!, complying with all environmental laws and regulations.

This case study is based on the 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report by Delta published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

With 335 destinations in 58 countries around the globe, minimising the environmental impact of its operations in all places where it operates, is a top priority for Delta. In order to help improve air quality around airports Delta took action to:

  • comply with air quality standards
  • prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere
  • track air pollutants that may contribute to climate change

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report Delta identified a range of material issues, such as community support and engagement, waste, customer service, supply chain management, financial performance, labour relations. Among these, helping improve air quality around airports stands out as a key material issue for Delta.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Delta engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Investors ·         Annual shareholder meetings

·         Annual report, quarterly earnings and proxy statement

·         External recognition, ratings and rankings

·         Investor Day

Customers ·         Customer Satisfaction Survey

·         Social media

Employees ·         Employee Satisfaction Survey

·         Employee Involvement Group (EIG)

·         TechOps EIG

·         Reservations Liaison for Information Networking and Communication (ResLINC)

·         Airport Customer Service and Cargo Frontline Involvement Team (FIT)

·         Velvet-360 Tour

·         Town Hall Program

·         Delta Board Council

Suppliers

 

·         Supplier ESG Assessment

·         Supplier Diversity (MBE, WBE and SBE) engagement

Governments ·         Collaborative partnerships with governments and NGOs around the world
Nongovernmental organisations ·         Industry associations

·         External recognition, ratings and rankings

Communities ·         Delta Air Lines Foundation

·         Social media

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Delta distributed a questionnaire focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to stakeholder groups that included customers, employees, investors, governments, suppliers, nongovernmental organisations and communities.

What actions were taken by Delta to help improve air quality around airports?

In its 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report Delta reports that it took the following actions for helping improve air quality around airports:

  • Complying with air quality standards
  • Delta’s airport stations and Technical Operations facilities comply with local, state, city, county and district environmental requirements. Third-party environmental professionals review and audit Delta’s air quality programs for compliance, as required. These audits include a multi-layered inspection of agency reporting, emissions records and work practices.
  • Preventing the release of ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere
  • Delta tracks stationary and mobile equipment containing ozone-depleting substances (ODS), chemicals which destroy stratospheric ozone. These substances are usually found in aerosol products, foams and fire extinguishers, and used as refrigerants in air conditioning and cooling equipment. During mandatory maintenance and servicing of such equipment, Delta takes all suitable measures to prevent the release of ODS into the atmosphere. In addition, where possible, Delta acquires or retrofits equipment that contains a substitute refrigerant, with a lower global warming potential.
  • Tracking air pollutants that may contribute to climate change
  • Eight Delta facilities file routine emissions inventory reports, because of individual state requirements. This includes tracking five criteria pollutants, which may contribute to climate change. These air pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), sulfur oxides (SO2x) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The eight facilities are:
    • Atlanta Technical Operations Center, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Atlanta Airport Station, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Atlanta Corporate Headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Minneapolis Airport Station and Technical Operations Center (combined reporting), Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Office Building J, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Iron Range/Hibbing Reservation Center, Hibbing, Minnesota
    • Cincinnati Airport Station, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Salt Lake City Airport Station, Salt Lake City, Utah

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 305-6 Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS)

2) Disclosure 305-7 Nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur oxides (SOX), and other significant air emissions

 

Disclosure 305-6 Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) corresponds to:

Disclosure 305-7 Nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur oxides (SOX), and other significant air emissions corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified and IEMA approved Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Delta, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Delta: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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