How can the aviation sector, make sustainability part of their culture?
To make your organisation eco-friendly, you only need to make a few small changes that you can do now. Many will help to cut operating expenses, attract environmentally conscious employees and more importantly, help towards securing a habitable planet for our children and future generations.
Build a culture of awareness
Make sustainability part of your culture and it will become the norm. A great place to start is assembling a 'green champion' to promote behavioural changes within the organisation.
Rethink your waste
Plastic water bottles take hundreds of years to completely decompose if they make their way to landfills. By adding filtration to your water system, your employees can get fresh water from the tap in the break room.
Think about ways you can cut down: eliminate paper handouts, cut back on the office fizzy drink habit, and avoid too many takeaway containers.
Encourage staff not to print email and draft documents, Millennials prefer doing everything electronically.
Waste reduction also makes good business sense, it reduces the costs associated with both purchasing and waste disposal.
Placing recycling bins in offices and in airports sends the message to employees and passengers, that you take environmental responsibility seriously.
Recycling is a simple way to make a big impact.
Reduce car travel
Travelling to work by car, wreaks havoc on the environment. The best alternatives are walking & cycling, followed by bus and train travel. We need to make these options more widely available by providing greener options. It's important for everyone's health and wellbeing that we find ways to encourage and excite everyone about the benefits of 'active' travel'.
Someone who cycles regularly lives a year longer than someone who doesn't. Try seeking sustainable solutions for employees to cycle safely to work and provide electric company bikes to travel within the grounds of the airport.
Reducing the number of cars on the road also cuts back on pollution and carbon emissions. It's worthwhile noting that the Climate Change Commission support end of life/scrappage so when you're considering upgrading your vehicle fleet, switch to electric (try and encourage taxi & bus companies to follow suit). Allow working from home (whenever possible) and offer incentives for employees who carpool.
By installing EV charging forecourts and office bike racks, this is a step in the right direction.
Video conferencing technology has improved substantially over the past few years, making it easier than ever to connect with co-workers around the globe - conduct your business virtually.
Encourage environmentally conscious vendors
If your organisation wants to fight climate change, help other businesses and organizations that do, too.
Take a look at your supply chain. Who are your providers and do your values align?
Ban single-use plastics like cutlery, plates and straws.
Use local vendors for catering and supplies not only supports your local economy and other small businesses, it helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
Encourage shops and businesses to use sustainable packaging.
Agriculture is responsible for roughly 1/3 of global emissions. Plant based foods are less carbon intensive than animal -based products. Production of red meat and dairy are especially carbon intensive. Offer more plant -based food options and specifically reduce beef and dairy based eats.
Eating seasonal items also helps to avoid less sustainable production methods.
Switch to a green tariff and offset your gas.
Transition to renewable power sources, when your energy heating systems need replacing. Cleaner alternatives are solar power and heat pumps.
There are more than 100 airports making use of solar power generation in some way; some large, others on a smaller scale. Find out more about Solar power: the future of airport infrastructure on the Airport Industry Review website.
How many of your computers, lights and appliances remain on when no one's around? Switch them off, when not in use. Careful use of technology and appliances not only saves energy, it saves money when your monthly bills arrive.
Finally, LED light bulbs consume at least 75% less energy than traditional incandescents.
Use the cloud
Cloud computing has become the norm for companies today - a cloud infrastructure addresses two critical elements of a green IT approach: energy efficiency and resource efficiency. Running your small business with cloud technology not only saves space and provides flexibility, it also cuts back on hardware and manufacturing, plus the emissions that go along with both.
Install some bee and bug hotels. Leave areas for rewilding, plant wildlife flowers and purchase flowering hanging baskets and wooden planters.
Water scarcity could become a serious issue.
Purchase some water butts.
Rewilding can help nature to recover
1.5C has become the talisman for the safest we can hope for this century
For both humanitarian and business reasons, it is imperative that we all take action to fight climate change. Aviation leaders who are serious about safeguarding our planet, will be better off now and in the future.
Cllr Louise Pepper
Portfolio holder for Environment and Green Issues and Equalities