SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT

Julie Baxter

It’s time to act, and time to collaborate. That was the conclusion of the first Onboard Hospitality Sustainability Summit which launched a new body to drive supply chain change. Julie Baxter reports

Six leading inflight supplier competitors have joined forces with airline and airport representatives to establish a new Airline Sustainability Forum (ASF) which will spearhead progress towards greater sustainability across the global end-to-end cabin waste supply chain.

The ASF has tasked representatives from Monty’s Bakehouse, RAP UK, Global-C, SPIRIANT, Now, New, Next, and En Route, along with Qatar Airways and Gatwick Airport, to form a working group to define the Forum’s scope, membership and collaborative steps for a better understanding of cabin waste impacts. It will also develop strategies to improve sustainable packaging sourcing, off-load segregation, recycling and recoverability.

The working group has now scoped out a mandate for the ASF which includes mapping the end-to-end cabin waste supply chain to identify all packaging substrates being used inflight, with a view to making these more sustainable through better sourcing, recycling and regeneration.

The initiative follows the first OnboardN Hospitality Sustainability Summit hosted by Monty’s Bakehouse in October. The Summit brought together nearly 30 representatives from leading airlines including Qatar Airways, British Airways, KLM, Iberia and TUI, and leading packaging, food, beverage and amenity suppliers. All had a shared interest in establishing a better understanding of the sustainability issues facing the sector and wanted to identify common goals and establish a binding commitment to anti-competitive collaboration as the work of the ASF progresses.

The group heard hard-hitting facts about aviation’s impact on the planet from a range of independent environmental experts (see page 20-22). Each stressed the growing urgency of tackling aviation CO2 and cabin waste and urged Summit delegates to give the issue their determined attention.

The Summit unanimously recognised the challenges of finding reliable information and trustworthy, truly sustainable long-term solutions. Delegates agreed the greatest need was for a leading and globally recognised third party independent advisory body or NGO to guide the sector, and the ASF is now pursuing alignments with relevant bodies, and building on its established connections with Imperial College London and The Grantham Institute for Climate Change and The Environment.

Matt Crane, Monty’s Bakehouse CEO, says: “The ASF has identified that there is no reliable and independent end-to-end assessment of the cabin waste supply chain. This is what airlines and all stakeholders in this complex supply chain really need to properly assess the environmental impact of packaging substrates and products used onboard. With this research we will be able to discuss how to standardise the types of packaging used and thereby be in a stronger position as a collective industry to improve off-load segregation and recycling. We will also be able to lobby international governments for changes in the treatment of off-load waste, directing more to recycling and less to incineration. The ASF will make this research available to all.”

Updates will follow in the coming months and the ASF will meet again in February. For more information contact: ideas@airlinesustainabilityforum.org