British Airways appointed a chartered environmentalist as its first head of sustainability.

Carrie Harris joins the airline from its parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), where she has been group sustainability manager for five years.

BA said the creation of the role reflects the increasing importance of sustainability for the airline.

Harris, is a fellow of IEMA (the accreditation body for sustainability professionals), registered environmental auditor and holds two masters degrees in environmental science and management.

In her new role at British Airways, reporting to Louise Evans, director of external communications and sustainability, Harris will be responsible for a team of eight who work on the airline’s strategy for environment, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing, and community investment.

Last year, Harris helped launch IAG’s Flightpath Net Zero, committing the group to achieving net zero by 2050, a global first for an airline group. During her time at IAG she embedded sustainability into the group’s business activity and financial planning processes.

She said: “We know our customers, colleagues and investors want to see sustainability at the heart of everything we do at British Airways, so this is an incredible opportunity for me to build on the great work that is already well underway.

“As we head into 2021, we’ll be taking a fresh look at all we do to ensure sustainability is embedded in our culture, our operation and our customers’ experience; from technological solutions such as zero emissions hydrogen aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels for the medium to long-term, to operational efficiency and carbon offset and removal projects in the short-term.

“We’ll also be focused on improving diversity, inclusion and wellbeing within the organisation and ensuring we contribute meaningfully to the communities where we operate in the UK and around the world.”

Evans added: “Sustainability is absolutely fundamental to British Airways’ future strategy and I am delighted to welcome Carrie to British Airways. This is a crucial role in our organisation, and I know Carrie’s expertise, as well as her ability to deliver, will have a hugely positive impact on our sustainability agenda.”

Later this week, British Airways is expected to retire its final 747 aircraft, four years earlier than originally planned. The aircraft are being replaced by more modern models such as the A350 and 787 which it says are between 25 – 40% more fuel efficient.