Sustainability Leadership of Qantas | Sample Assignment on Leadership


The purpose of this report is to analyse the operations of Qantas and understand how it helps in maintaining climate change. As a Sustainability Manager of an organisation, the focus is on developing a sustainable strategic plan including sustainability in the key business strategy for guiding the organisation and providing a vision for the effective future of the business. The focus is on proper implementation of the strategic plan to develop sustainability capacities and capabilities of the organisation. The organisation selected is Qantas.

Qantas is the flag carrier of Australia and largest airline in terms of fleet size, international flights and international business. It is the third oldest company in the world in the airline industry after KLM and Avianca. The company started its international passenger flights in May 1935 and soon it became extremely popular in Australia. Over the years, Qantas has established its name in the airline industry of the world and not just Australia.

Role of this business in dealing with climate change

Businesses play a crucial role in the mitigation of problems such as global warming by taking well-informed decisions for investing in researching and executing new energy techniques and measures (Homsombat, Lei & Fu, 2014). As per the data by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change and other crucial organisations, it is indicated that climate change has become a global concern. It is due to this that businesses across the globe are expected to be sustainable and keep a check on their activities so that they do not harm the climate. Businesses out of humanitarian and planetary crisis, take steps on an urgent basis to ensure that their activities are under control. Studies have indicated that companies across the world account to 71% of the carbon emissions due to which global warming is on constant rise (Heiets & Prakittachakul, 2020). This is basically from energy sector companies, airline sectors etc. it is vital that the companies especially in these sectors take steps against climate changes.

As far as Qantas is concerned, the company is playing a huge role in ensuring that the business deals with climate change effectively. The official website of the company indicates that Qantas determines human-induced climate change as a key issue for the airline industry (Leigh, Drake & Thampapillai, 2018). The company supports climate change as their priority due to which they research about limiting global temperature to an appropriate to ensure that there are no natural disasters. Aviation sector is always the first one to provide global business response to issues such as climate change and also number one sector to regulate their emissions. Similarly, Qantas also plays an active role in develpig and fulfilling efficient goals. For this, Qantas management has developed a sustainability policy and operates with a philosphy to cope with the challenges. The philosophy includes measure, reduce, offset and influence (Patriarca et al. 2019). The Qantas Group has committed to align their climate change disclosures to the suggestions given by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, also known as TCFD. The Group has been making efforts to execute various strategies and implement them across various elements; governance, strategy, risk management and metrics and targets. In the last few years, Qantas has even partnered with external people and also climate change experts to determine different types of risks and steps that can be taken for coping with this global concern (Patriarca et al. 2019).

Qantas conducts scenario analysis to determine the intensity of the situation and then take steps to cope with the solution. This strategic tool enables the airline company to estimate the way in which the company is positioned to take steps for coping with this global concern (Prakittachakul, 2020). Qantas has ensured that business is resilient when transforming to a low carbon economy in an appropriate way. Qantas uses different climate scenarios as informed by the International Energy Agency’s Energy Transition Pathways.

  • Reference Technology Scenario: Also known as RTS, this is consistent with an outcome of 3-4 degree depending upon the steps taken by the Nationally Determined Commitments of an individual country under the Paris Agreement. In this scenario, the temperature and emissions usually stabilize and continue to develop from 2100 (Prakittachakul, 2020).
  • Two Degree Scenario: Another scenario is two Degrees Scenarios, which targets as much as half of the limiting average global temperatures by two degrees by 2100. In this scenario, there is a need for better response to the climatic changes when compared to existing steps taken.
  • Beyond two Degrees Scenario: Another scenario is Beyond Two Degrees Scenario, which targets a 1.75 degree outcome by 2100. The target is to acquire non-zero emissions by 2060 (Prakittachakul, 2020).

Besides this, Qantas has also determined transition risks that develop due to changes in the policy and other external factors such as legal, technology, company image and also changes in market when transforming to an economy with low-carbon emissions. The scenario analysis conducted by Qantas had indicated that the airline sector is expected to grow in all the three climate scenarios (Raynes & Tsui, 2019). There will be a need for the Group to continue their investment in transforming to a low-carbon economy.

Apart from transition risks, there are physical risks that arise due to the bad weather conditions like heat waves, droughts, floods, landslides etc. also, when there is a massive shift in the climatic pattern (Raynes & Tsui, 2019). The physical risks can take place and also cause huge damage to assets and disruptions. Qantas conducted an analysis of the physical risks to improve the understanding of the influence of changing temperature and other natural conditions such as wind, rainfall and thunderstorms. The findings of the report developed by Qantas include that physical influence of climate change depends upon the site and have a huge affect on the company. The intensity of the influence of risks significantly vary as the scenario and also provide an understanding of the importance for strategies of climate change.

In Australia, the report developed by the company indicated that the regional operations of Qantas would be exposed to high physical risks concerned with huge temperature. The impact of the physical risk concerned with high rainfall will be likely to be highly important for metropolitan states in the Eastern states. In the efforts to be sustainable, Qantas has taken the challenge to develop steps to cope with human-induced climate in a serious way (Qantas, 2019). Qantas is already running the largest carbon setting program which is one of a kind run by any airline across the globe. The focus of the company is to invest in sustainable aviation fuels and also taking steps to minimise the waste to landfill in a significant way by 2021 (Qantas, 2019). Qantas has planned to improve and expand the climatix scenario analysis in the next few years. Qantas management believes in taking efficient steps for coping with this global concern and expanding the physical risk analysis in the international market and also consider their financial implications.

Contribution of business to society in more ways than simply commercial ones

Qantas contributes to the business by minimising the impact of the activities of the company on the environment. Qantas management has committed to environmental sustainability (Qantas, 2019). As a result of this, the airline has determined the appropriate inclusion on the global sustainability indices and ensuring that the company can help in acquiring great results. The company has committed to use an emissions management plan, measure, reduce and offset.

  • Measure: With this element, the company follows several reporting programs and has understood their footprint levels. The company follows National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting for analysing domestic emissions. Qantas even follows Sustainability Reporting and Carbon Disclosure Project Reporting for understanding the total emissions footprint in a year. The last step is to understand and analyse the carbon neutral program reporting (Qantas, 2019).
  • Reduce: Another step is to reduce such that there is a proven track record of executing initiatives for enhancing the efficiency and also minimising the use of field and carbon emissions. For instance, Qantas has taken Aircraft weight reduction initiatives. The company also invests in an energy efficient fleet and encourages the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in Australia.
  • Offset: The third element is offset, which indicates Qantas the largest airline carbon offset program across the globe. The company offset all the employees business travel. The offsets enable the airline to mitigate climate change and also protect flora and fauna. This program is not for profit making purposes since the key agenda is to practice sustainability as much as possible. This has enabled Qantas to be successful and sustainable.

Ways for business to become ethical and motivated beyond commercial concerns

Qantas is known for its ethical practices. The airline company has been ethical and motivated beyond commercial concerns. The company has integrated sustainability in its business operations such that everything can be managed in a sustainable way for every stakeholder, from customers to investors. There are several ethical programs developed by the organisation. These are as follows.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel: Qantas is the first Australian airline which has operated a commercial using Sustainable Aviation Fuel, also known as SAF. The company is also a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group. The airline company conducted an Australian Roadmap to Sustainable Aviation in 2011 with stakeholders and found out the feasibility of using SAF on a regular basis and its impact on the environment and society (Schofield, 2019). As a result of the report and study, it was found out that there can be 12000 clean energy jobs developed with a tremendous cut in the emissions and also a huge reduction in the import of the fuel products. Qantas even partnered with an organisation called Shell Australia and also the Government to understand the possibilities of producing SAF in Australia to cut costs for importing it from outside (Schofield, 2019).

Fuel Efficiency program: Another initiative taken by the company is fuel efficiency program, which is about investing in an fuel efficient fleet. The company decided to deploy GPS based navigation technology for enhancing the operational efficiency of the organisation. Also, the company had planned to use efficient ground power units in spite of using jet fuel driven Auxiliary power units (Homsombat, Lei & Fu, 2020).

Minimise carbon emissions: One of the concerns for the airlines is the carbon emissions. The airline has set up a voluntary carbon offset program, which is the biggest program in the world developed by any airline. It was developed in 2007 and since then, the company claims to take 370,000 cars off the road (Homsombat, Lei & Fu, 2020). The company has even partnered with Australian businesses to minimise the environmental footprint and also support various projects.

Inflight sustainability: Another achievement of Qantas is its inflight sustainability. It is the first Australian airline which has developed inflight recycling. Qantas has developed a Sustainable Procurement Policy to encourage use of sustainable products and less packing material in the flight. The company has even collaborated with different suppliers to encourage the packaging and recycling solutions like washable utensils and recyclable paper cups.

Aircraft noise: The key criteria used by Qantas when buying a new aircraft is to ensure that it has a low noise footprint. Qantas is a premium GPS based Smart Tracking due to which the airline has designed flight paths to move noise away from the people in the nearby residential areas.

Ways for the firm to comply with environmental and social regulations and supporting corporate philanthropy

It is vital for a business to comply with environmental and social regulations to become sustainable. Qantas has taken various steps in the last few years to adhere to the environmental and social regulations in an effective manner.

  • tri-Generation Projects: Qantas has taken steps to develop the largest commercial trigeneration project in Sydney which makes use of fuels such as natural gas. This helps in developing efficient, low carbon energy and also adhering to the needs of the aircrafts. Qantas has taken part in developing two power plants to minimise carbon emissions by 23000 annually (Qantas, 2019). The refurbishment and trigeneration power plant would enable Qantas to develop large buildings from an average energy efficiency.
  • Green team: Qantas has developed a green team of as many as 700 staff members who take different initiatives for improving across different Qantas business.
  • Minimise utilities: Qantas has taken steps to reduce the use of resources such as electricity and water targets (Leigh, Drake & Thampapillai, 2018). The company aims at using these resources in a systematic way and also invests in different electricity and water projects. For instance, Qantas has taken steps to enhance efficiency of lighting by deploying LED technology, taken steps for using energy efficient electrical appliances, using water efficient fixations and taking many such steps.
  • Recycling and waste: Qantas management has taken steps to divert 65% of the waste from the aircrafts and corporate operations to landfills in Sydney. The company has even installed recycling bins in major airport terminals and also started a waste food composting program in the corporate premises. Qantas carry out philanthropic activities by donating uniforms to charity so that pillows and mattresses can be manufactured using them.

>Ways to develop the general, human resource related and financial capabilities of the organisation

In an organisation like Qantas, there is always a need for developing the general, human resource related and financial capabilities since there are frequent changes happening. For instance, in the present situation of Covid-19, the airline sector is hit the most. As a result of this, the operations of the airlines have been halted and they have incurred huge losses during this pandemic. However, there is always a need to adopt models and resources beforehand so that the organisation is ready to cope with these types of problems. Hence, the most crucial asset for Qantas is its workforce. There is a need to build an efficient workforce in the organisation so that in any situation, the workforce supports the business. As per Leigh, Drake & Thampapillai (2018), a useful model is the standard casual model of HRM, which is a key HRM model used by the large organisations. This model indicates the source of HR strategy and how it impacts the HR execution and business performance in an effective manner. HR strategy is the result of business strategy. Therefore, Qantas human resource strategy depends upon its business strategy. As per this model, the HR activities should be developed that help in creating value when these are aligned with the business objectives. Studies indicate that when there is alignment between the two, Human Resources results in increasing the performance of the firm (Raynes & Tsui, 2019). Therefore, the foremost priority will be to focus on developing business strategy and then linking it to human resource strategy. This can help Qantas deal with dynamic situations well. The managers of Qantas can use strategic tools such as SWOT and PESTLE to conduct micro and macro environmental analysis. The analysis helps in providing a view of the external factors that can influence the activities of the business. The key strengths of Qantas should be its core know-how and infrastructure including production capacity, marketing channels, sales challenges and various human capital factors.

Develop the necessary Individual Leadership Skills to drive change

It is important for a leader to be disciplined at all times in order to be able to become effective and lead a successful team or project. It is important to develop discipline in personal as well as professional life for increased productiveness (Mabey, 2013). A leader must also inspire his or her subordinates as well as colleagues to be disciplined. Most people at a workplace judge the capacity and effectiveness of a leader by the degree of disciplines that he or she practices at work.

It is vital for the leaders at Qantas to take responsibility. At Qantas, a leader can further develop his or her leadership skills by taking on more projects as well as responsibility. However, he or she must make sure that they are not taking more work than they can deal with as it could lead to failure. Instead, a leader must do more than what his or her job description specifies in order to be able to become successful and achieve growth. If a leader wants to learn new things and grow in his or her career, then he or she must step out of their comfort zone. By doing so, more and more executives will see the leader as someone who works hard and takes new initiatives.

The leaders at Qantas must listen to the employees to make them competent to manage changes. A successful leader with true leadership skills listens to his or her people and has no issue yielding control to a colleague or subordinate when it is right to do so (Mabey, 2013). A true leader does not feel threatened or offended when someone is in disagreement with him or her, questions his or her thinking or opinions, or puts forward opinions of his or her own. A successful leader is also open minded and rewards people for their good work. It is not always easy for a leader to be effective and successful, but if he or she learns to respect as well as value his or her team members, they are more likely to work harder.

Besides, the leaders at Qantas should be capable of seeing the bigger picture. In this way, he is able to anticipate certain issues before they even surface. This is a very important skill to possess when dealing with complex projects that have to be completed within tight deadlines (Western, 2019). The ability of a leader to anticipate problems in advance and offer recommendations for avoiding those problems is invaluable. This ability also helps a leader identify opportunities that are often overlooked by others, and that is something that usually earns a leader recognition and respect.

Establish adequate Institutional Leadership Structures

Institutions leadership entails establishing as well as safeguarding institutions character and values. The orientation of institutional leadership is said to me less leaning towards a change or future orientation and more towards self-maintenance (Western, 2019).

There are different steps that the leaders at Qantas can take for establishing adequate institutional leadership structures.

  • Leadership workshops for executives and chairs: The management of Qantas should conduct regular workshops for their executives and department chairs to discuss critical issues in institutional leadership. Due to the reason that chairs and executives play an important role in recruitment of faculty members and in shaping departmental climate, these workshop series can prove to be an effective way to shed light on important institutional problems and issues and to disseminate information (Western, 2019). Some examples of issues addressed include team building, grants and contracts, leave policies, family-friendly policies, strategies for recruiting women, promotion and tenure, and budgeting. Such workshops allow participants to interact with each other and with other leaders from across the organisation as well as to gain perspectives of others in the institution. Some advanced institutions or organisations hold workshops frequently for women leaders, thereby allowing them to discuss questions as well as issues that they face and build connections with others in the institution.
  • Leadership training: The managers at Qantas should offer a training and development workshop for new joinees and for those starting in chair positions. As part of these workshops, a kind of boot camp training is provided to the attendees to help new chairs gain important knowledge as well as skills related to important institutional resources (Moldoveanu & Narayandas, 2019).
  • Events for women thinking to take up leadership roles: Qantas needs to focus on making its women employees extremely competent and encourage them to take leadership roles. They should encourage lunch discussions or workshops targeting women who are thinking to take up leadership positions or who are just about to step into leadership careers. Such events sometimes have more qualified and experienced women speakers talking about their leadership journeys.

Develop interactive Leadership Platforms in partnership with others beyond your own company

In order to develop leadership platforms in partnership, Qantas need to focus on encouraging the staff members to communicate with each other. There should be an efficient strategic management plan such that it has an efficient communications plan as well. The communication plan should encourage the staff members to communicate with leaders through different channels. This can enable the workforce of Qantas to be highly motivating.

Most significant challenges to leadership and change management within the organisation and in the world in which it operates

Besides the fact that Qantas is one of the successful airlines in the world, the company faces certain challenges to leadership and change management.

Managing resistance: Studies indicate that the job and major responsibilities of a leader involve identifying as well as dealing with resistance. A leader must encourage strong dialog on whatever problems or conflicts the team members are most worried or concerned about. In this way, a leader will be able to set the fears of the team members to rest. In addition to this, a leader must offer the more reluctant team members with confidence as well as certainty (Moldoveanu & Narayandas, 2019).

Most importantly, a leader must keep in mind that doubts are roadblocks in the change process. A leader can succeed on this part with constructive and clear guidance, and with patience.

Managing conflicts: Besides this, the true leadership at Qantas must focus on talking to team members, listening to them and helping every team member gain an understanding of how they can help one another and what the change entails. And when an issue or a conflict comes up and threatens to interrupt the schedule, a leader must step in and help as effectively and quickly as possible. Whether the issue or conflict is with a part of the process or with a person, a leader should always be ready to deal with it and find solutions to it. Being ready and eager to dive into the issue or conflict quickly and effectively is one of the most important skills of an active leader in the process of change (Western, 2019).

Patience is needed in this case too: Cases in which the interruption is not needed, a leader must give the team members the time and guidance to see the issue as the leader himself sees it. However, if the issue sheds light on some fault in the planning or process, then this is an issue worth the expertise and time of the leader. This is the time for a leader to show his colleagues and team members their trust and confidence in you is placed well.

Managing setbacks: Another challenge for leaders at Qantas to handle setbacks in an effective manner. fUpheaval is common in transition management. Hence, a true leader should never presume that the steps or processes implemented to bring about a change or transition are foolproof. For instance, in Covid-19 times, the operations of the company were hit badly. In such a scenario, leaders had to motivate the employees to ensure that they stay encouraged. At Qantas, a leader should therefore keep his morale and confidence up as he determines if the problem or hindrance is a major failure or something that is manageable and exploitable to achieve benefits. In this way, a leader will be able to lighten the impact of a problem or hindrance with high morale and confidence, and may even avoid any delays.

Expecting as well as accepting setbacks or hindrances is important to be  prepared for them, however the second major step is determining the critical and most testing parts of the transition well in advance. A leader must reassure the team members that unexpected events can occur at any time and that should not derail what they are working on. Thereafter, the leader must work on dealing with the issue to understand if that issue will change the outcome of the project in significant ways or it is something that can be resolved.

Protect and value the employees: At Qantas, the focus should be making sure that his team members have confidence in him. A true leader must assure his team members that they have his back in case any interdepartmental or oher project issues occur.


Overall, Qantas has ensured to remain committed to position itself in a way that it reduces its carbon emissions with each passing year. The company would also contribute to minimise emissions and lower global warming considerably. There is a need for using technology and efficiency for effectively increasing sustainable aviation fuels.


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