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Aerospace Giant Airbus Names Chief Sustainability Officer: 6 Things to Know

October 13, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Airbus SE has named communications leader and sustainability expert Julie Kitcher (pictured above) to the additional role of chief sustainability officer, the aerospace company announced amid multiple Airbus executive updates. The lengthy list of executive changes and updates will be official on January 1, 2024.

Kitcher's overall role will be executive VP of communications and corporate affairs, and chief sustainability officer. Her EVP role has included sustainability responsibilities since April 2019, according to Kitcher's LinkedIn bio.

Here are six things to know about Kitcher's experience, the Airbus emissions reduction strategy, and sustainability challenges and executives in the aerospace market.

Airbus Chief Sustainability Officer and Carbon Emissions Reduction Goals

1. Business Scope and Scale: Airbus designs, manufactures and delivers aerospace products, services and solutions to customers worldwide. Airbus's registered headquarters is in the Netherlands, but the executive team typically works in Toulouse, France. Airbus revenues were €$58.76 billion (US$61.86 billion) in 2022, and headcount was roughly 126,495 in 2021, according to Wikipedia.

2. Sustainability Strategy: Airbus is seeking to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Airbus is seeking to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 industrial emissions by up to 63% by 2030. Also, Airbus has committed to reducing by 46% the greenhouse gas emissions intensity generated by its commercial aircraft in service (Scope 3 - Use of Sold Product) by 2035. 

3. Who Is Julie Kitcher?: Kitcher joined Airbus in December 2000 and has steadily climbed the aerospace company's executive ranks. Key posts have included financial controlling (2000), financial analyst (2003), VP for investor relations and financial communication (2008), head of investor relations and financial communication (2015) and EVP of communications, corporate affairs and sustainability (2019).

4. Executive Perspectives: Kitcher's LinkedIn bio states, "I’ve spent more than 20 years in aerospace in a variety of Finance roles and am now focused on wider transformation - in particular the decarbonisation of the sector and the broader sustainability agenda with a focus on societal value: valuing people, protecting the planet and enabling prosperity. "

5. Aerospace - Carbon Reduction Concerns: Critics are calling on the aviation industry to accelerate their net zero efforts. Among the areas of concern: The International Council on Clean Transportation predicts the aviation industry will fall far short of its pledge to generate net zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to The Wall Street Journal.

6. Aerospace Sustainability Executives: Meanwhile, multiple aerospace companies have named chief sustainability officers and leaders during 2023. Example moves include:

  1. Airlines for America (A4A): Hired Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) veteran Kevin Welsh as VP of environment and chief sustainability officer (CSO).
  2. Atlas Air Inc.: The subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide promoted Richard Broekman to executive VP, chief commercial officer and head of sustainability.
  3. Boeing: Named Jim Hileman as VP of the Sustainability & Future Mobility organization (S&FM). That's not to be confused with Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Christopher Raymond.
  4. Delta Air Lines: Named Amelia DeLuca as chief sustainability officer, effective August 1, 2023. DeLuca succeeded Pam Fletcher, who stepped down from the role.
  5. Philippine Airlines (PAL): Hired climate scientist Glenn S. Banaguas as chief resiliency and sustainability officer.
  6. Safran: The aerospace equipment manufacturer hired Air-France-KLM veteran Nathalie Stubler as chief sustainability officer (CSO) and a member of the group's executive committee. 

Aerospace Chief Sustainability Officers: Why Technology Partners Should Care

By 2027, 25% of Global 2000 companies will have assigned a chief sustainability officer (CSO) responsible for meeting their organization’s ESG goals and making ESG-related IT purchasing decisions, according to IDC.

The bottom line: Technology partners need to extend their sales, marketing, engagement and support strategies to successfully fulfill those CSO needs, Sustainable Tech Partner believes.

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