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The Roberta Bondar Foundation names Air Canada in its inaugural Award for Innovation and Creativity for its long-term commitment to environmental protection through its net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 target and other initiatives to protect the planet.
“We are thrilled to recognize Air Canada’s innovation and passion for our natural world through our new award in celebration of those who share our vision for a healthy planet and a healthy population,” said Dr. Roberta Bondar, in announcing the award’s first recipient.
“Air Canada has set a long term climate target with ambitious milestones, and is investing in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and carbon reductions and removals — sharing in the Roberta Bondar Foundation’s commitment to protecting our planet for future generations,” she said.
The Roberta Bondar Foundation Award for Innovation and Creativity will be given to Air Canada on January 22, at the virtual celebration of the 30th anniversary of Dr. Bondar’s historic space flight. In 1992, she became the first female Canadian astronaut and the world’s first neurologist in space when she flew aboard NASA’s space shuttle Discovery, inspiring a nation and her foundation’s mission to protect the planet.
“Air Canada is honoured to be recognized by this true Canadian icon and her Foundation for our work in addressing climate change and promoting sustainability throughout our business,” said Samuel Elfassy, vice-president, safety at Air Canada.
“We applaud Dr. Bondar and her Foundation for its focus on the natural world and share her passion to build hope for the future of humanity.”
Air Canada has committed to achieving net-zero emissions throughout its global operations by 2050, with midterm greenhouse gas emission targets by 2030 in its air and ground operations. It is also committed to investing $50 million in sustainable aviation fuels and carbon reductions and removals.
This past year, Air Canada also:
- Became a founding member of, and the first Canadian carrier to join, the Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT), formed to tackle the challenge of rising CO2 emissions from commercial aviation
- Announced it will be joining a community of companies dedicated to transition to net-zero aviation as a signatory of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow 2030 Ambition Statement to accelerate the supply and use of sustainable aviation fuel to reach 10% of global jet aviation supply by 2030
- Launched its Leave Less Travel Program which offers corporate customers the option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to business travel and reduce their carbon footprint by using SAF or offsetting their emissions
- As a signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration and the first airline in the Americas to hold the IATA IWT certification, Air Canada hosted its first virtual forum on Illegal Wildlife Trade in Canada’s Transportation industry which included international experts, the Minister of the Environment, and Dr. Jane Goodall.
Thirty years ago on Jan. 22, 1992, Roberta Bondar became the first female Canadian astronaut and the world’s first neurologist in space when she flew aboard the American space shuttle Discovery, blazing a trail for women and inspiring a nation as a true Canadian icon.
As she circled Earth 129 times covering 3.3 million miles, Dr. Bondar saw our planet from a different perspective and committed to combine medicine, scientific research and knowledge of the environment to build hope for the future of humanity.
As a professional nature photographer, she has published several best-selling books featuring Canada’s National Parks and curated exhibitions on biodiversity for galleries, museums and science centres across Canada to encourage all ages to embrace conservation and see our natural world through a difference lens.
Through her foundation, she has partnered with NASA to foster awareness about the effect of climate change and human activity on migratory paths of endangered avian species. She has also inspired thousands of young people to examine the natural world through experiential outdoor programming.
The public is invited to join Dr. Bondar and friends, fans, celebrities and other notable Canadians to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her historic space flight. Hosted by Olympian Mark Tewksbury, the night will include greetings from Anne Murray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Susan Aglukark, Michael Serapio and Hayley Wickenheiser.
Tickets in support of the Roberta Bondar Foundation can be purchased through Eventbrite.
This press release was prepared and distributed by the Roberta Bondar Foundation
Airlines, including Air Canada, that have ignored the climate crisis for 30 years, ratcheting up their numbers of flights, fuel use and total GHG emissions, don’t deserve environmental awards – at least not until they commit to emission reductions in line with keeping global heating below 1.5C (i.e. a 50% reduction in emissionsby 2030).
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