The first TIACA Sustainability competition saw 18 eighteen very diverse and excellent entries (with many more expected next year), making it very difficult for the jury to whittle down to a short-list of three. The finalists were illustrative of this diversity: Nallian (an IT open data sharing platform), M&G Packaging (a bio-plastics packaging provider), and Wings for Aid (a self-landing cardboard delivery box).
Together with Celine Hourcade (TIACA) and Arnaud Lambert (CHAMP), Steven Polmans (TIACA) opened the finalists’ presentation slot telling the audience to listen to the three fifteen-minute
presentations and then for all TIACA members present to use the Whova conference app to place their vote for the winner. (The audience vote made up 50% of the final result, the other 50% coming
from the 5-man jury) He was proud to be launching the first ever Sustainability Awards saying, “we have put this on the agenda [for the first time] now, but in 10 years’ time, it will be
Arnaud Lambert told the audience that the idea stemmed from CHAMP, who had asked TIACA to focus on sustainability when they chose to join the committee. Having sustainability as an agenda topic is a first achievement, but in the run up to the awards, it had become apparent that there is a disparity in knowledge about sustainability, so TIACA’s focus is on ensuring a global understanding through partnerships, quoting “No company will be left behind in the journey to sustainability.”
Celine Hourcade, who joined the team this year as TIACA’s Sustainability and Transformation responsible (and bringing along 12 years of IATA experience, of which more than seven years were in
cargo industry management and environmental topics), stressed the importance of focusing on improvements rather than shaming and finger-pointing: “Let us work on going what we can today to
ensure a better tomorrow, share best-demonstrated-practices and improve by learning from each other.”
“Making a difference” was the main driver for all the applications
Steven Polmans was “afraid it was going to be too environmental,” having stressed more than once that sustainability is so much more than simply an environmental focus. It should be a good balance of three factors: profit, social, and environment. He was therefore “pleasantly surprised to see a variety of applications and both large and small companies participating”. Arnaud Lambert was impressed by the structural approach to the initiatives, and Celine Hourcade promised that “TIACA will continue to work with the non-shortlisted projects, too.”
Indeed, she later told CFG that she had reached out to all entrants and already linked six of the projects (those related to a reduction of plastic or CO²) up with Solar Impulse in Lausanne – a foundation that is currently selecting 1,000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way and awarding them the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label.
The winners were announced during the Gala Dinner on 20 NOV 19, on board a ship travelling up and down the Danube in Budapest.
First prize went to Wings for Aid, who received funding of USD 15,000. The two runners-up were presented with a check for USD 3,500 each.
Steven Polmans congratulated the contestants: “Congratulations to Wings for Aid and to all the participants. We had 3 winners on stage. This first Award was a real success and supports the vision of Sustainability and the 3 pillars (Planet, People, Prosperity). The finalist’s presentations were the concrete demonstration of it. Including the vote of the attendees in the final mark show exactly the way we, as TIACA, want to work on Sustainability and on other topics: in collaboration and together with the industry.”
Barry Koperberg, General Manager at Wings for Aid, and Alexis Roseillier, the Lead Engineer responsible for the design of the box, were delighted to receive the award: “We were very honored to participate in this nomination and we feel really excited to be part of the air cargo family. This award will help us to take another step and thanks to the network of TIACA we found very strong support.”
The positive diversity in the projects, the innovation and, especially the enormous social aspect in regard to the winning project, are promising for an industry that is often perceived negatively when it comes to sustainability. As Arnaud Lambert stated, “This is a great start [to the Sustainability Awards] and we expect even more entries in the years to come.”
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