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Can we still afford to care about sustainability?

Article submitted by TIACA Secretariat

In current context of growing environmental and societal concerns across the world, asking this question can be seen as controversial. However, seeing the impact that COVID-19 crisis has had on air cargo community, business priorities certainly have been affected.

At the first-ever Sustainability4Cargo webinar, Céline Hourcade, who is in charge of TIACA’s Sustainability Program, shared association’s vision for sustainable air cargo in a world facing a global health crisis.

 The complexity of the air cargo community 

We often say that we, the whole air cargo community, need to speak in one voice and to work in concert to become truly sustainable. But who are “we”?

Often, when people hear “air cargo,” they automatically think of an airplane. The industry is much more complex and is in a dire need of better understanding by its partners and decision makers pushing the sustainability agenda forward.

It takes all air cargo players, from airlines, freight forwarders and shippers, to name a few, to global industry organizations like ICAO, FIATA, IATA and ACI, as well as governments to join forces and put global sustainability standards in place and abide by them.

Defining sustainability 

It is a common perception to view sustainability as something “green,” referring to its environmental angle. Céline set the scene by quoting the definition of sustainability in the Bruntland report: “A sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

TIACA’s perception of sustainability encompasses the environmental, social and economic sides and is powered by innovation and partnerships. In other words, TIACA aims at supporting the air cargo industry in its necessary transformation to do good for the planet, the people and the business, through innovation and partnerships.

Sustainability for air cargo and air cargo for sustainability

Céline brought to light a very important side of this industry by showing the air cargo’s vital contribution to the sustainable development of the world. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a more granular view and concrete illustration on how air cargo contributes to sustainability of the world, specifically in the areas of job creation, poverty reduction, access to markets, the empowerment of women, to name just a few.

On the other hand, in line with the 17 UN SDGs, air cargo companies need to define their future sustainability strategy and embed sustainable practices in their business framework to become safer, more efficient, agile, profitable and resilient to future crises.

Sustainability in the COVID-19 world 

The global pandemic brought new challenges to our industry but also highlighted the unique value of air cargo, which in the past months has been delivering urgently needed medicine, supplies and other goods fast and safely to all corners of the world.

This crisis has given a unique opportunity to this industry to rethink its business to become stronger but not at the expense of the future generations.

Watch the full webinar to learn what TIACA’s recommendations for the industry are:

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