Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 176-179)

Wednesday 11 June 2003


  Q176  Chairman: I am sorry to keep you waiting while we did our public duty. Thank you very much indeed for your memorandum. Is there anything you would like to add to that before we take evidence from you?

  Dr Sentance: I am grateful to you, Chairman. I will just introduce myself. I am Andrew Sentance, both Chief Economist and Head of Environmental Affairs at BA.

  Q177  Chairman: We noticed this combination.

  Dr Sentance: I approach this subject from two different angles. The main points I think are in the memorandum. As we make clear there, we see the main issue as being to have a framework for sustainability, which means balancing environmental , economic and social impacts. There are a lot of economic benefits from aviation. We see the objective as getting environmental improvement at a reasonable economic cost. We have set out in that memorandum our clear support for emissions trading as the way forward for dealing with global warming, particularly the carbon dioxide element of those emissions. We are actually members of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme. We have backed that up by participation in that scheme. We would like to see emissions trading carried further in aviation. Those are my main points by way of introduction.

  Chairman: You will have heard, since you were seated at the back, some of the problems with the approach to emissions trading, which we dealt with in the last session; i.e. that it is rather long term.

  Q178  Mr Chaytor: Would it not really be better if BA had a separate Chief Economist and a separate Chief Environmental Manager?

  Dr Sentance: We debated this when I took over the environmental role.

  Q179  Mr Chaytor: I am not saying you are not capable of doing two jobs; it is just that one role might undermine or conflict with the other.

  Dr Sentance: Within our company, we have to bring together the environmental issues and the economic issues and come up with a coherent position that reflects a sustainable position. We define sustainability as getting an appropriate balance between social, environmental and economic issues. Over the last three years, and we have produced one again this year, our environmental report has become a social and environmental report. I suppose really you can call it an economic, social, environmental report because it sets out our performance under the three headings that people call the triple bottom line. I think it is quite appropriate within a company for these things to be brought together and discussed in an integrated way.

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