EBAA Ambassadors and Business Aviation leaders at EBACE 2019
If you read my previous blog “Can we make Business Aviation more sustainable?” you will already know that after the empowering One Young World summit in the Hague last October, my nine fellow European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) Ambassadors and I, have been putting together a project plan to introduce a more sustainable future for the Business Aviation Industry.
Dubbed as the young professionals World Economic Forum, One Young World 2018 brought together 1850 young professionals from 200 countries to discuss world issues.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I could possibly contribute alongside such brave, strong and courageous young professionals from all over the world. Some of these people have survived unimaginable circumstance’s; war, violence, destruction, discrimination. Some were starting businesses that were curing diseases, saving lives and combating climate change and I was sitting there as a representative of one of the most controversial industries, Business Aviation, trying to understand how we can make a difference here.
By the end of the 4-day event of workshops, presentations and networking, I understood that being alongside these people had the purpose to ignite inspiration that will make positive changes when I returned home to Switzerland.
The One Young World mission isn’t about what you learn at the summit, it’s about what you can do as Ambassadors after the conference is over.
So, what have we done since we've been home?
Over the last nine months the EBAA Ambassadors and our EBAA sponsors, Taunya Renson and Róman Kok, have been meeting bi-weekly to research and discuss our ideas for the Business Aviation industry as a whole.
From our own perspectives and the EBAA Expanding Horizons research, we know that Business Aviation doesn’t have a great reputation for its economic viability, we also know that the industry needs to recruit younger and more diverse talents.
We also understand that this reputation is primarily due to a lack of awareness about the positive aspects of our industry and the opportunities that lie within it.
Further, we discovered in our research that young people care more about sustainability than any generation before.
That's why we believe that if we can make our industry more sustainable we will not only be doing good for our economic viability -attracting more clients and positive feedback- we will also be attracting younger generations to be part of our industry.
We reached out and asked EBAA members to find out more about why companies are not taking part in corporate social responsibility or environmental issues so far.
The survey results informed us that many companies do not have the knowledge or man-power for something and there are simply not enough initiatives in Europe.
Well, the EBAA One Young World Ambassadors are hoping to change that.
Introducing S.T.A.R.S (Standards and Training for Aviation Responsibility and Sustainability)
Last week at the annual European Business Aviation Association event in Geneva, my colleagues Maureen, Nicolas, Patrick and Stacey gave a fantastic presentation outlining our project plan to introduce a sustainability label to our industry.
This program is designed to change the entire industry for the better and to encourage more responsible and sustainable decisions within the industry for the future.
The label will address social and environmental issues by raising awareness, providing educational resources, building partnerships and introducing initiatives.
The 3-tier certificates will be accredited based on how many social and environmental each company can provide. As an example, the first level 'star' could be awarded to companies that comply with basic environmental practices within their offices such as recycling and with basic social practices such as developing inclusion and non-discrimination policies within their companies. A three-star level could be achieving a carbon neutral status within their company for the environmental side and by giving all staff an annual free day to engage in the community activity of their choice.
The label will be renewable every two years and will be available to all players in the industry. For operators as an add-on to IS-BAO, for FBO's and Handlers as an add-on to IS-BAH and for service providers STARS will be available as a standalone certification.
The benefits for companies to be accredited with the label will be healthy for the top and bottom-line of each business. There will be long-term cost savings for becoming a more sustainable company, there will be higher recruitment rates, as well as employee loyalty rates because workers will be happier and view the company as more sustainable and they will gain a higher market share which leads to profit and revenue growth.
What happens if we don’t act now?
We believe that if something isn’t done now to change our industry for the better, governing bodies and regulators will force us to. Companies will be regulated to comply and will be financially penalised if they do not. Programs such as CORSIA and ETS are already in place to incentivize companies to address their ecological footprint and companies will pay a hefty penalty if they do not comply.
Business Aviation will continue to have a bad reputation outside of the industry and as social and environmental issues arise, the industry will be further scapegoated as a primary cause of these problems.
If the industry continues to stay out of touch with these topics it will be increasingly difficult to attract generations of clients or, encourage current clients to advocate for its existence due to the shame the industry holds.
If we fail to attract/retain top talent for employment, especially the next generations (millennials and Gen Z) for whom sustainability is a priority in their working environment, we will not have workers to support the industry and eventually, we will not have any clients left to serve.
Finally, if we do not contribute positively to reduce the climate issues extreme weather conditions and this will have a direct impact on the core operations and services that our industry relies on. It could also begin to directly affect our lives and future.
Our journey has only just begun
We’ve come a long way since our trip to the Hague last October, but we know that this is only the beginning. We’ve got a lot of work to do if we want to implement the project across the industry and we know we need a lot of support from the existing members of the Business Aviation.
We were all pleased that all members in the industry who attended our presentation told us they were very much in favour of the initiative and saw the need to change current industry practices.
We also saw that a lot of the discussion at EBACE 2019 celebrated the sustainability actions that are already in place in our industry. For example the 23 of the aircraft showcased at the static-display were flown the Geneva using Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel.
We hope more of our colleagues feel the same way and can get behind us in this project too.
If you have any comments, want to help us by getting involved in the project, just comment below or send me an email.