Going Green: Motivations for environmental commitment in the airline industry. A case study of Scandinavian Airlines
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Many commentators have examined the airline industry's impacts on the environment but not the internal management processes used to develop company environmental policies. This paper argues that environmental management tools need to take into consideration the complex, value-laden setting in which corporate environmental policy-making occurs if such tools are to be socially and politically legitimated. A case study of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) examines an airline's decision-motivations for environmental commitment. An in-depth analysis of the drivers identified by both Scandinavian Airlines and related industry officials shows that attitudes, values and beliefs generated both internally and externally have a critical impact on the airline's environmental policy-making. Although there are numerous influences that drive SAS' level of environmental commitment, three "motivators" are found particularly noteworthy. Firstly, this research demonstrates that eco-efficiencies, in various forms, are a strong motive at SAS. Secondly, Scandinavian culture also plays an influential role in the value SAS puts on the environment at a strategic level. Thirdly, it was found that internal leadership, in the form of environmental champions in senior management positions, played a key role in the positive outcomes of the airline's environmental performance. Given the current growth in benchmarking and eco-labelling activity across tourism, this research enhances understandings about what motivates airlines to develop environmental policy in this increasingly competitive and volatile sector.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Copyright 2006 Multilingual Matters & Channel View Publications. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.