ASF Meeting Offers Key Insights into the Sustainability of Inflight Products


Image via Aviation Sustainability Forum

On February 9, Aviation Sustainability Forum (ASF) hosted its first event of 2022. The non-profit, which aims to improve the sustainability and circularity of inflight products and services, announced in January that it would combine resources with IFSA to promote ASF’s work as a primary sustainability initiative of the IFSA membership. The online event brought together key figures from IATA and APEX/IFSA to offer insightful suggestions and feedback. It was attended by 40 of the world’s leading airlines, caterers, suppliers, and industry governing bodies, including the ACA, ACI, IFSA and IATA.

APEX/IFSA CEO, Joe Leader, spoke about the importance APEX/IFSA are placing on sustainability by mandating that all 4- and 5-star airlines be required to demonstrate progress on their sustainability initiatives to maintain and improve their ratings. Additionally, he discussed the importance of collaboration across the industry to achieve real change, highlighting the formation of an airline environmental board focusing on how the industry will advance and regulate itself. He explained that a vital role of the board will be in “sharing information that has previously been viewed as proprietary.”

IATA’s assistant director, Environment and Sustainability, Jon Godson, addressed global issues with current waste management and single-use plastic regulations and the industry’s challenges in meeting these, including the inconsistency in regulations across various regions. Godson discussed how working with ASF, IFSA and ACA will aid in creating “some form of coordination between different bodies who are emerging or have been working in this area for a while so that we can speak with one voice when we go to see regulators.” He finished his remarks by announcing that IATA will be joining the Advisory Group of the ASF as IATA looks to how it “can drive regulatory change and harmonization.”

The event also included an update from the ASF on Phase 2 of its current research project regarding the challenges the onboard industry faces in achieving sustainable inflight services. The study aims to provide guidance for addressing these challenges and will offer recommendations for using specific standardized materials for disposable serviceware to increase circularity. The presentation included the expected methodology and outcomes of the research progress. Phase 2, expected to commence in the first half of 2022, requires further funding and support from the membership. Phase 1 of the project is currently available on the ASF website.

The event concluded with a question-and-answer period.