Ryanair Holdings is a publicly listed company headquartered in Ireland. In 2020 its revenue was USD 1.86 billion. It is a low-fare passenger airline that operates across Europe and North Africa. Since 2019, it has transported the most passengers of any European-based airline. It also owns three subsidiary airlines, including Malta Air, Lauda and Buzz.
Ryanair has set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. It is one of the few benchmarked companies to quantify the proportion of emissions reduction expected from different initiatives. This includes 34% being achieved through sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and 32% achieved through technological and operational improvements. However, 24% of the company’s net-zero target will be achieved through carbon offsets. The company can improve its targets by reducing its reliance on offsets. For example, to align with the Science-Based Targets initiative the company should aim to achieve at least 95% of its scope 1 emissions intensity reductions through direct action.
Ryanair has identified climate-related physical and transition risks through implementing the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). However, it has not conducted scenario analysis or indicated that it will in the future. The company needs to strengthen its efforts to understand climate risks and opportunities through detailed scenario analysis aligned with a 1.5°C scenario. Ryanair can improve its transition planning by implementing learnings from scenario analysis.
Ryanair demonstrates mixed climate policy positioning. The company has stated support for the Paris Agreement and mandatory SAF blending of 5% by 2030. However, it has also lobbied against European Union policies, such as the Fit for 55 package. The company claims that the Fit for 55 proposals will ‘increase costs for airlines and their customer base, even though CO2 emissions are already taxed under the EU’s ETS.’ It is also publicly opposed to fuel or carbon taxation. The company can increase its credibility by demonstrating support for climate policies.
Ryanair receives a trend score of -. If the company were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely decrease. Ryanair has set an unambitious 2030 target to reduce emissions intensity by 10% however, it intends to achieve net zero by 2050. It is unclear how Ryanair will achieve its long-term targets because it does not have a robust long-term decarbonisation strategy. There is no evidence that Ryanair plans to diversify its business to include low-carbon activities.
Ryanair has set a target to reduce its scope 1 emissions intensity by 10% by 2030 compared to 2017. It is unclear if the company plans to use offsets to achieve this. The company also has a 2050 net-zero target. However, carbon offsets will account for 24% of the reduction.
Ryanair aims to achieve its targets by increasing the share of SAF to 12.5% of its total fuel use by 2030. The company will rely on technological and operational innovations, improvements in air traffic management and carbon offsetting in the long term.
Ryanair’s current actions are limited to undertaking early-stage R&D in the use of SAF in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin. The company plans to invest EUR 22 billion (USD 26 billion) on 210 new more efficient aircraft that will burn 16% less fuel. The aircraft will be delivered through to early 2025.
Ryanair’s emissions intensity increased by 25% between 2019 and 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to 2020, the company’s emissions intensity remained stable. An annual emissions intensity reduction of at least 1% between 2020 and 2025 is required to align with its 1.5°C pathway.
Ryanair’s transition plan is not supported by financial commitments. In addition, the company’s reliance on carbon offsets to achieve 24% of its emissions reduction by 2050 undermines the credibility of its net-zero target.
The company publicly discloses a commitment to engaging in social dialogue with workers and unions. However, no relevant disclosure was found regarding the categories of stakeholders it engages with on a just transition. Nor was there any evidence to show the company’s ongoing social dialogue and meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders.
No evidence was found of the company undertaking low-carbon transition planning to mitigate the social impacts of the transition on workers, affected stakeholders and its business relationships. Additionally, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s engagement in social dialogue or engagement with stakeholders in its just transition planning.
The company discloses the actions it takes to create jobs, directly and indirectly in tourism. However, no public commitment by the company was found stating its intention to create and support access to green and decent jobs as part of the low-carbon transition. Moreover, no evidence was found of the company’s action to promote these jobs in a way that ensures gender balance and inclusion of vulnerable groups. Additionally, no relevant disclosure was found of the company’s assessment of employment dislocation risks.
The company discloses the actions it takes to provide training opportunities for workers and affected stakeholders. For instance, it pilots, cabin crew, engineers, and the wider team all receive comprehensive training. However, no relevant disclosure was found of the company embedding equality of opportunity for women and vulnerable groups in these actions. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company having a process for identifying skills gaps for workers and affected stakeholders or a public commitment to help workers displaced by the transition to reskill or upskill.
No relevant disclosure was found to show if the company identifies impacts of the low-carbon transition on social protection for workers and affected stakeholders, nor how it contributes to social protection. Additionally, no evidence was found that the company expects its business relationships to contribute to the social protection of their workers and affected stakeholders.
No relevant disclosure was found to show how the company identifies any misalignment of its lobbying activities with policies and regulations that support the just transition, nor of the measures it takes to address misalignment. Furthermore, no evidence was found that the company lobbies for policies and regulations for green and decent job creation; retention, education and reskilling; and social protection for workers.
No policies or commitments of the company related to respect for human rights were found in the public domain. This includes the necessary policies and systems by which the company can ensure respect for basic human rights in its operations and supply chain.
No evidence of the company’s policies or commitments related to key decent work issues were found in the public domain. These issues include the provision of secure, safe and healthy workplaces, where workers are fairly remunerated and have a meaningful say in decision-making. The company does disclose the proportion of its direct workforce covered by collective bargaining agreements, no relevant disclosure was found of the company’s required working hours or measures of workforce diversity.
The company has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and includes corresponding clauses in its contracts with business relationships. Furthermore, the company specifies that it does not make political contributions, but it does not have a policy to govern lobbying and political engagement. No policies or commitments of the company related to key ethical business topics – personal data protection and tax were found in the public domain.