Environmental Policy: A Strategic Tool

Eurocopter has been taking measures to protect the environment for many years. The creation of the Environmental Affairs Department in November 2008 is now adding fresh impetus to this commitment. Rotor Journal met up with Olivier Jouis, head of the new department.

© Mark Buscail
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© Eurocopter
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Olivier Jouis, head of environmental affairs at Eurocopter

How has the creation of an Environmental Affairs Department upped the ante?
Olivier Jouis: Eurocopter didn’t wait for the environment to become a pressing issue for society: A long way back, the Group was already making significant efforts to improve the environment, either by lowering noise footprints through the Fenestron, which then set the standard for the industry, or by complying with the strictest environmental requirements (ISO 14001). What’s new is the way the environment is perceived at Eurocopter: It is now considered a strategic tool, which is likely to be a springboard for growth, and will provide an opportunity to create value for our clients. But implementing this strategy will be a long and complex process: We have to re-examine all our procedures from an environmental point of view. My mission can be summed up like this: To make sense of and add value to Eurocopter’s environmental performance. We won’t see results straightaway. This is a continuous improvement drive built around seven dimensions, the seven Ps: Product, People, Procurement, Process, Plant, Profit and Perception.

Which are the priority dimensions for Eurocopter?
O. J.: Plant and Procurement, where Eurocopter has already laid the foundations through the ISO 14001 certification of its European sites and compliance with the EU’s REACH regulation. Concerning Process, Eurocopter wants to build an environmentally effective organization–the goal is to ensure carbon neutral growth by lowering our emissions and consumption of non-renewable resources. Product is the most visible dimension, where the expectations of our customers are the highest. To meet these expectations, Eurocopter has launched a major innovation program including important technological breakthroughs. With the support of EADS, we are exploring several avenues of applied research: hybrid engines, “greener” engines and active blades. But the cornerstone of everything we do is still People, because nothing will be achieved unless everybody gets behind these environmental goals. To reach our goals, environmental criteria will be included in the annual targets set for every member of staff.

What about Profit and Perception?
O. J.: Profit will take on its full meaning from 2012 onwards, when Eurocopter will have to reduce its carbon footprint or buy increased quota allocations. This way of putting a price on environmental performance will provide a powerful reason for financing projects to reduce our carbon dependence. As for Perception, this area is crucial because this is where we make sense of what we do and add value to all our hard work. Eurocopter’s reputation is very good and must remain so. Perception is therefore about credibility and consistency: Walking the walk and talking the talk. The environment is on everyone’s lips at the moment and people’s expectations are high. But Eurocopter is putting itself in a good position to integrate environmental performance in its economic model. We have a goal: We want to turn environmental restrictions into a competitive edge so that we stay world number one.


INTERVIEWED BY: MONIQUE COLONGES

From the Fenestron to active rotor control, Eurocopter never stops innovating to make its aircraft even quieter.
© Eurocopter / Éric Raz
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