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How Air Cargo Pushed for Environmental Progress in a Year of a Global Pandemic

As I was cleaning my personal email box unsubscribing from email newsletters I never read, I was wondering if this minuscule effort to relieve the IT servers storing my emails and thus reducing their energy use, will really help reduce my impact on the environment. However small my effort is, if everyone using emails did the same, the impact would be substantial. With that in mind I figured it is a good time to look at what has been done to advance sustainability in the industry I worked for in the past year - air cargo and logistics.

The airfreight sector has been going through a year in turmoil. And with hard to predict demand and capacity we saw overall budget constraints were set in place. As companies were battling for their survival, we feared the sustainability programs would be among the affected ones. And it was truly a revelation to learn that in 2020 sustainability has actually gained importance for nearly two thirds of air cargo professionals with 75% businesses having a sustainability strategy in place, according to the TIACA Sustainability Survey run back in November 2020, with the following priorities set:

Source: TIACA Sustainability Survey 2020, analyzed by Change Horizon

What has been happening in the air cargo industry in the past year?

Air cargo and logistics businesses have been pushing innovative solutions to measure and reduce their impact on environment, contributed to humanitarian and medical aid throughout the pandemic and committed to making ambitious changes to their business strategy to reduce environmental impact. At Change Horizon, we had an opportunity to experience this industry drive first-hand having organized the 2nd TIACA Air Cargo Sustainability Awards which recognized the most outstanding industry solutions advancing sustainability in air cargo industry, including carbon and waste reduction, drones, humanitarian aid, packaging, ULDs, process efficiencies, people focus and COVID-19 relief.

Beyond recognition, our founder Céline Hourcade matched some of the most innovative airfreight companies with the Solar Impulse Foundation which recognizes solutions bringing more efficiency in energy use, water, lower CO2 emissions and financial savings with a Solar Impulse Label. At the end squAIR-timber, a cargo pallet solution provider, Skybreathe, a software helping pilots improve their flying techniques to reduce CO2, and Optiflight, a data science solution helping pilots reduce fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions, were awarded.

So, what will it take to push it through in 2021?

The start of the year 2021 has not brought more clarity and reassurance to air cargo industry yet as the COVID-19 vaccines are being deployed slower than hoped for. However, this crisis is still a perfect opportunity to reassess your business strategy and define how sustainable practices could be embedded in it. Just like last year, we still believe that sustainability will be high on the agendas for politicians, investors and consumers. This year we will continue challenging the established business models and pushing for a revolution in air cargo sustainability. We are proud to have been mandated to continue advancing TIACA’s Sustainability Program and look forward to driving industry engagement and partnerships as well as putting a new sustainability certification program in place.

Are you willing to make your business more sustainable, but not sure where to start?

Contact us for a brainstorm together!


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