Busy days over at TIACA’s Executive Summit in San Francisco last week, as the association keeps steadfast on its course for a better future for the air cargo industry. Not only were the Sustainability Award winners announced, but also an industry-first sustainability program launch kicked off. Welcome, BlueSky.
In such a multi-faceted environment as air cargo, where do you start when it comes to improving your business to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals? TIACA has already run surveys and published White Papers and guidelines for its members, breaking down the Sustainability aspect into People, Planet, and Prosperity. It is now launching a new initiative aimed at supporting the industry in tracking its sustainability progress.
The industry’s first sustainability assessment, validation, and verification program
Announcing the kick-off of its BlueSky Program, Steven Polmans, TIACA Chair, stated: “We are excited to launch this new initiative that will allow companies to assess their sustainability initiatives and then have them verified and validated. The impact that this program will have on the industry is profound, by bringing transparency and collaboration on such a vital topic “Sustainability”, we will see the industry develop into one that is truly focused on People, Planet and Prosperity.” The association’s motive for the BlueSky Program, was to meet a need the industry had in seeing where it stood with regard to progress in its sustainability strategy and in comparison to other companies in the field.
Three tiers, renewed every two years
The result, therefore, is a three-tier program that, similar to IATA’s CEIV certifications, renews every two years. It will function both as an individual company internal monitoring guide, but also benefit the air cargo industry as a whole, since it creates greater transparency and understanding of sustainability standards. TIACA hopes for an improved image of the air cargo industry as a result, especially given that the public eye is highly critical of aviation and unaware of what is already being done for a greener future.
“BlueSky Program is a tool that the air cargo industry can use to track their sustainability progress, benchmark against peers and accelerate the industry’s transformation,” the association summarizes. The three tiers are:
- Assessment Guidelines: here companies self-evaluate where they stand in regard to sustainability awareness and initiatives,
- Desktop Verification: this is an online assessment and verification of the documents provided, resulting in a performance score per area, visible on a company dashboard,
- Onsite Validation: this includes the desktop verification and an onsite independent audit, again with a performance score per area, and complemented with excellence badge (which will, no doubt, have been earned by now!), as well as a detailed audit report recommending improvements.
From BlueSky to Eco-Skies…
“We are so proud to be named the Corporate winner of the third annual Air Cargo Sustainability Awards hosted by The International Air Cargo Association TIACA for our work with the Eco-Skies Alliance. This unique program offers our corporate customers the opportunity to contribute towards the purchase of millions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). With its nearly 80% emissions reductions on a lifecycle basis compared to conventional jet fuel, SAF will eliminate tens of thousands of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere each year. Together, we go far!” United Airlines announced as Jan Krems, President United Airlines Cargo, accepted the Corporate Sustainability Award in San Franscisco, sponsored by CHAMP.
…and from Eco-Skies to XFret
While it was already clear that United was the Corporate winner, what was not known until San Francisco, was who would walk away with the main prize in the Startup/Small Business Category. Three projects had been shortlisted: XFret, MissionGo, and Waves, all presented their unique solutions to the San Francisco audience, which then voted for their favorite.
That favorite turned out to be XFret for its innovative container designed to optimize the cargo space on empty passenger seats. It received a cash prize of $10,000. Both runners-up were awarded $2,500 each. “We congratulate XFret for winning the 3rd Sustainability Award in the Start-up/Small Business category and we are thrilled that this unique innovation can be brought to market. This innovation shows the innovative spirit of our industry and truly supports TIACA's Sustainability vision and is well on the way to making air cargo more sustainable,” Steven Polmans, announced.
Thanks to CHAMP
“We are delighted to be TIACA's exclusive sponsor for these Sustainability Awards and to support this important initiative for the 3rd successive year. We congratulate United Cargo and the Eco-Skies Alliance as the winners of the award in the Corporate Category for their outstanding leadership in the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and XFret in the Start-Up Award Category for their highly innovative container solution that can be placed on empty seats in commercial aircraft cabins. We are also very appreciative of the high level of applications this year and would like to mention especially the other shortlisted candidates in the Start-Up Category, Mission GO, and Waves.” Chris McDermott, CEO, CHAMP Cargo Systems.
Thanks go to CHAMP, too, for continuing to sponsor these events that give Start-ups a platform and companies exposure for all the excellent ideas that are out there to improve the air cargo industry for the better.
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