May 30, 2024

A time to change

Greater attention to sustainability issues could bring a positive legacy of change from the COVID-19 pandemic, says Marc Warde

COVID-19 has changed all our lives. We cannot escape it at the moment, masks and sanitisers are everywhere. We shop differently, we socialise differently, when we say:’œHow are you?’€ these days it is not a flippant courtesy, we really mean it. In these times we have seen the best and worst of people but I believe overall good has triumphed.

It has been a painful, emotional time and for many of us, including myself, this whole thing has woken consciousness. I now genuinely want to make meaningful sustainability choices in my life, within my business, profession and lifestyle. I think if more of us could do that, then collectively it would make a real difference.

Over the lockdown period I have been studying for my MSC in Food Science and Innovation. Latter modules have been about sustainability and the real statistics I am having to retain in my head, unquestionably show that something has to give and changes must be made. Burying our heads in the sand and ignoring these sustainability issues alienates young from old and that is not a good legacy to leave our children and future generations.

A few weeks ago, I did an interview with Julie Baxter, editor of Onboard Hospitality in her:’œOne Big Question’€ series. I have really enjoyed watching these videos and extremely glad be part of it, even if mine was recorded pre-barbers re-opening in the UK and I looked like a hairy yeti! There is a positive energy in these interviews which I appreciate greatly. By looking for the positives, we all feel more positive, and now I hope we can act positively and collectively, as airlines begin to fly again.

I believe key will be a system where we select our meals before we fly, ie when we book our ticket. From a sustainability point of view it makes sense. Pre-order is possible. The software to meet the logistic challenges already exists, with it comes data and accuracy of loading, as well as the assurance that passengers will get what they want. Pre-ordering is something I am used to, as I order a special meal that way. From a sustainability point of view it has to be better in the long run.

Yes caterers may resist getting paid for loading less food, but surely they too appreciate the benefits. Less load, means less weight, which means less fuel. It would be a huge and important start to going green. In time the one-upmanship that exists around each airline will surely be measured in sustainability, not solely on who has the biggest menu.

Gandhi said:’œBe the change you want to see in the world,’€ and never has that statement be truer and more needed than now.