We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Tomas López Fernebrand
SVP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Amadeus
When travellers search for a flight through an airline or travel agency to compare offers for their next holiday, their query goes to a data center. Power consumption at data centers is a global challenge. Here´s how Amadeus is addressing it.
Imagine an information factory larger than a football field, where fare combinations for different airlines are stored on thousands of hard drives stacked in rows upon rows, surrounded by an intricate web of pipes and fans for cooling.
The same thing happens when we store our travel photos in the cloud, or keep hundreds of undeleted emails in our inbox. All of that data lives somewhere and it’s using a lot of energy.
The world’s data centers have been estimated to use some 200 terawatt hours (TWh) each year, and are becoming one of the biggest energy consumers/users on the planet – even beating out the energy consumption levels of whole countries.
Unfortunately, it´s getting worse. In an update to a 2016 peer-reviewed study, Swedish researcher Anders Andrae found that without dramatic increases in efficiency, the information and communications technology industry could use up to 20.7% of all electricity by 2025.
That’s why Amadeus is taking action. In 2015, Amadeus committed to freezing the company’s global CO2 emissions at 2014 levels. The first step in addressing environmental sustainability is to understand the impact of our operations and to nurture a company culture that reduces our environmental footprint as much as possible.
Here are the three pillars we´ve put in place to make this ambitious goal a reality:
1. 100% renewable energy at our data center.
The first pillar of our strategy is to improve the environmental performance of our operations. To support this, Amadeus announces today its commitment to use 100% renewable energy at our data center. This will be achieved through the purchase of Guarantees of Origin. This initiative takes our environmental commitment one step further, since we will reduce the release of emissions. Up until now, Amadeus has used carbon offsets from the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) program as a principal way to reduce emissions. CDM projects involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers. Since 2015, Amadeus has offset more than 32,000t of CO2 in this way. With the use of Guarantees of Origin, we expect to reduce our CO2 emissions company-wide by approximately 50%.
This is a big step for us. The energy consumption from our data center is the single most important element of Amadeus’ environmental impact, representing more than 50% of our total energy consumption and CO2 emissions worldwide.
Due to the significant company growth and the high volume of transactions processed in the last few years, our recent improvements have yet to achieve an overall reduction in energy or emissions. However, we´re headed in the right direction: in 2010, Amadeus´ data center was certified by TÜV SÜD as energy efficient. The certification was renewed and is valid until Dec 2021.
Energy efficiency at our data center is a top priority for Amadeus. We’re already making great strides, but we know more must still be done.
2. Helping customers reduce their impact.
The second step in our strategy is to continue developing IT solutions that help customers reduce their impact. With an average daily investment of more than €2 million in R&D, we are constantly developing technology solutions to improve the operational and environmental efficiency of our customers.
For example, our Airport Sequence Manager permits improved planning of aircraft movement on runways, helping airports and airlines to reduce their environmental impact by minimizing the amount of time that aircraft spend taxiing on the runway. If such solutions were to be implemented at the major airports of the European Civil Aviation Conference, the European Union estimates savings of over €120 million in fuel costs and a reduction of more than 250,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
Another example is our Altéa Departure Control-Flight Management solution, which helps airlines to accurately estimate the fuel needed for a specific flight, using sophisticated algorithms and historical data. The accurate estimation of the weight of the aircraft before fuel is loaded permits significant savings in emissions and economic costs. In fact, a study carried out by Amadeus in conjunction with Finnair analyzed more than 40,000 flights to conclude that a mid-sized carrier can save a minimum of 100 tons of fuel and more than 315 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Assuming that a similar level of savings is achieved by all our customers using the same flight management solution, the amount of CO2 emissions reduced would exceed the total emissions associated with Amadeus’ operations.
These are just a few examples of how we’re helping our customers reduce their environmental footprint. You can find more examples in our global report.
3. Working in partnerships with industry stakeholders towards long-term sustainability
Ultimately, long-term sustainability can only be achieved if all industry stakeholders work toward this common objective. For this reason, the third pillar of our environmental sustainability strategy is to identify and engage in collaborative industry projects.
We work with institutions like the World Travel and Tourism Council and academic institutions like Griffith University in Australia. Amadeus is also involved in the production and maintenance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard, developed in cooperation with the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom and the Griffith Institute for Tourism, to which Amadeus contributed by sharing aggregated travel data. The Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard provides a broad insight into how the travel sector is contributing to key sustainability goals. Additionally, Amadeus joined the United Nations Climate Neutral Now Pledge, committing to becoming carbon-neutral and to making our contribution toward reaching the targets set by the Paris Agreement.
As a sign that we are moving in the right direction, we were first included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) in 2012. The DJSI evaluates companies’ sustainability practices across environmental, economic and social dimensions. Approximately, the top 10% of scorers of each economic sector enter the index. Amadeus has been included on the DJSI since 2012 for eight consecutive years now.
One of the most remarkable scores achieved in the DJSI results announced on Friday 13th September 2019 is environmental reporting, where Amadeus achieved the maximum score of 100 points. Other areas in which Amadeus achieved a score of 90 points or higher include customer relationship management, operational eco-efficiency, climate strategy and corporate citizenship and philanthropy.
We believe transparent and clear non-financial information reporting is a fundamental step for long-term sustainability and we reinforce our commitment in this direction.
Learn more about how Amadeus is taking strides towards environmental sustainability in our global report. Amadeus will continue to work internally and in cooperation with our customers and industry partners to achieve long-term industry sustainability and carbon neutrality.