The first meeting of the Get Onboard Now! Planet Action Group turned the spotlight onto the urgency of the sustainability agenda within the travel sector and identified key areas that need focused attention, and action, now.
The group highlighted the need for clear global standards, as already widely established in other industries, with targeted rules around the issue of catering waste and post-flight incineration in particular. They recognised that airlines and governing bodies cannot wait around for governments to set the tone and terms for these rules and must collaborate openly and constructively with relevant stakeholders to find an effective environmental strategy from within the supply chain community.
The group’s participants were all keen not to simply restate what is environmentally wrong with current operations but instead showed real commitment to offering practical suggestions and guidance for tangible and practical solutions. Recognising one key topic as cost sensitivity within the sector post-pandemic, the group will seek to highlight the range of benefits, including financial drivers, which will substantiate the business case of a number of sustainability initiatives to support the push for immediate action.
Our experts pledged specifically to address the very relevant topic of a potential generational gap in awareness and thinking around the sustainability topic, recognising evidence of the mismatch between the thinking of younger passengers and newer recruits to the sector (under 30s) – for whom sustainable choices are becoming second nature – and the perspective of key decision makers who are often upwards of 50 years old. For young passengers it will be choices within the cabins which communicate as much about the sustainability credentials being addressed as the ongoing debates about engine efficiencies and biofuels.
Having delivered a collaborative and aligned set of objectives for the campaign, the group will now work to bring forward the topics and stories which prioritise their work and focus , for example concrete evidence and guidance on sustainable product life cycles and quantifying the pros and cons of rotables versus disposables considering emissions from incineration in a variety of scenarios. If incineration remains as the only solution, it will seek to identify which materials are the least harmful to burn and work to control sourcing and manufacturing remits more consistently to close the loop.
Pre-ordering and the use of indigenous locally-grown and seasonal produce as well as plant based foods were identified as offering quick sustainability wins.
The group now aims to share a series of proactive educational and insightful communications in partnership with Onboard Hospitality to push sustainability up the agenda for air, rail, cruise and ferry operators.
Attending the kick off session were Anne De Hauw, IN Air Travel Experience; The Hayward Partnership International Aviation Waste Management Association (IAWMA), Matt Crane, Aviation Sustainability Forum; Monty’s Bakehouse; SATS in Singapore, Ariane van Mancius, Now New Next, Alison Wells, Plane Talking Products, Sunbul Dubuni and Simon Frishemeier, LSG Group, Caroline Thomson, CST Solutions, Sarah Klatt-Walsh, Sarah Klatt Consulting,Marc Warde, Niche Free-from Kitchen/ Libero Special Meals, Julie Baxter and April Waterson, Onboard Hospitality Magazine, and the meeting was moderated by Michael Pooley, The Hayward Partnership.