The airline Eurowings and Cologne/Bonn Airport are leading the way on the subject of sustainability and are launching an ambitious project together that will contribute to protecting ecosystems and forests in the Rhineland: the two companies have begun planting 6,000 trees in the Königsforst nature reserve in the immediate vicinity of their Cologne/Bonn home base – more trees than the combined employees of Germany's largest leisure airline Eurowings and Cologne/Bonn Airport. The initiative is the first of its kind in which a German airline and a domestic airport are working hand in hand.
"Together with the entire Lufthansa Group, we also want to lead the competition in terms of sustainability. To this end, we are investing billions in the world's most efficient aircraft and have now set up more than 50 projects on board and on the ground at Eurowings alone that help to conserve resources as much as possible," says Jens Bischof, CEO of Eurowings. However, many topics in aviation, such as carbon savings through new engines, are very technical and complex and therefore difficult to communicate. Bischof: "That is why we want to make climate and environmental protection visible and tangible on our doorstep as well. The initiative in Cologne's Königsforst is another milestone on this path."
Eurowings and Cologne/Bonn Airport jointly launched the project together and are equally involved as partners. Thilo Schmid, Chairman of the Executive Board of Cologne/Bonn Airport: "Climate protection and sustainability have been firmly anchored in our corporate strategy for many years. As an airport, we naturally assume ecological, social and societal responsibility. The project in Cologne's Königsforst is another building block in our numerous sustainability-oriented activities. It is precisely because of its regional significance in the immediate vicinity of the airport and in one of the most popular local recreation areas for the people of Cologne that it has a very special significance for us as a company rooted in the Rhineland."
Environmental protection at the gates of Cologne/Bonn Airport
The Königsforst is a 2,519-hectare forest area east of Cologne that is part of the larger Bergische Heideterrasse area. The popular nature reserve serves people of the region as a recreational area and is also a habitat for numerous birds and other animals. In order to maintain this, vacant areas caused by drought in recent years and infestation by bark beetles are currently being extensively reforested. Eurowings and Cologne/Bonn Airport are doing just that by planting new mixed forest through the Cologne-based impact Start-Up "Planted". Where there are still small seedlings now, various tree species will start to grow upwards in the coming years. They don’t just bind carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but also serve as air and water filters.
Sustainability at Eurowings
Eurowings takes its responsibility for effective climate protection seriously and, as part of the Lufthansa Group, has a clear goal: by 2030, the company's own net carbon emissions are to be halved compared to 2019, and by 2050 Lufthansa Group as a whole aims to achieve a neutral carbon balance. In particular, Eurowings is focusing on fleet modernization with investments in 13 aircraft from the A320neo family, the most modern and efficient medium-haul jets in the world. Eurowings is also the first airline in Germany to offer customers simple carbon compensation for their flights; through climate protection projects in Germany. Eurowings provides information on all other sustainability measures on its website: https://www.eurowings.com/en/information/about-us/sustainability.html
Sustainability at Cologne Bonn Airport
Taking responsibility for climate protection as well as for environmental and noise protection are the top priority at Cologne Bonn Airport. The topic of sustainability has been an integral part of the company's activities for years. The airport aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 65 percent by 2030 and plans to be carbon neutral by 2045 at the latest. As early as 2035, apron access is to be limited only to vehicles and equipment with zero-emission drives.
The airport relies on a wide range of measures and projects: among other things, the use of intelligent building technology to reduce carbon emissions in terminals and cargo halls, the expansion of a sustainable energy infrastructure, an in-house combined heat and power plant to supply cooling and heating, photovoltaic systems on the cargo halls, and the ongoing conversion to LED lighting indoors and outdoors.
The Cologne-based impact start-up Planted offers companies the simplest and most effective solution to take action against the climate crisis. The subscription model combines the local planting of climate-stable mixed forests in Germany with global climate protection projects. In this way, trees are planted sustainably every month with the organisation's own climate forester and companies, together with their employees, are made climate neutral through compensation projects. In addition, companies can plant company forests in Germany with Planted or have a TÜV-certified eco-balancing of their company carried out. In this way, Planted not only guarantees maximum climate protection through CO2 reduction and supports the forests here in Germany that have been severely damaged by climate change, but also creates awareness for more sustainable economic development. The start-up, founded at the beginning of 2021, has already been able to save over 100,000 trees together with its customers.