#SustyTalk Live: British Airways’ Carrie Harris on the challenges of decarbonising aviation

British Airways’ director of sustainability Carrie Harris joins edie on the SustyTalk sofa, sponsored by Persefoni, to discuss how there are no silver bullets to decarbonising the aviation sector, why collaboration can help derisk innovation and how the skillset of a sustainability professional will change over the coming years.


Launched during the Covid-19 lockdowns, #SustyTalk is an ongoing series of video conversations that keeps edie’s audience connected to the inspirational business leaders who are continuing to drive sustainability and climate action.

Each SustyTalk Live video was recorded at the flagship edie 23 event in London on 1/2 March and the sessions that you’re watching are sponsored by Persefoni. An evolution of the multi-award-winning Sustainability Leaders Forum, edie 23 is the premier annual event dedicated to achieving environmental and social transformations through courageous business leadership.

For the first in the 2023 SustyTalk Live series, edie’s content editor Matt Mace sits down with British Airways’ (BA) director of sustainability Carrie Harris to discuss the challenges facing the hard-to-abate sector of aviation.

Harris provides a recap of BA’s own sustainability journey and targets, before outlining the unique challenges the sector is facing.

“We need to treat the aviation fuel we have right now like gold dust and making sure that we’re operating efficiently to absolutely minimise the emissions way have right now,” Harris says. “A key opportunity for us is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and last year we took our first UK supply. Between 30-60% of our fuel use in 2050 could be coming from SAFs, if we get the right investment.”

Harris also spoke of how hydrogen propulsion for aviation and improving the efficiency of aircraft can help reach a “true zero”. Harris also spoke of how carbon markets will need to be used in a meaningful way.

During the conversation, Harris outlines the role of collaboration and its importance before finishing by summarising how the skillsets of individuals within the sector will change over the coming months and years.

“Happily, we’ve moved from making the case of ‘why’ are doing something which was an uphill struggle, to all stakeholders getting why we’re doing this.” Harris says. “For me and our team it’s a big focus on delivery and credible communication that avoids greenwashing. That is a challenge because it has to be succinct…but some of this is complex and needs an explanation.”

Click here to see our catalogue of #SustyTalk interviews.

Want to be featured on a future episode of #SustyTalk? Email [email protected]. Please bear in mind that our interview calendar is typically booked several weeks in advance. We are now booked for the remainder of March.

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    I have felt for some time that the use of the word “susty” tends to somewhat degrade the great importance of “sustainable”.
    But perhaps I am getting a bit too old and fussy, I have, after all, to recognise that I am 91!!!!!!!
    Richard Phillips

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