Canadian Manufacturing

How to turn sustainability into business strength in aerospace manufacturing

by Bryan Christiansen, Founder and CEO of Limble CMMS   

Manufacturing Research & Development Aerospace Cleantech Energy Transportation aerospace manufacturing aviation cleantech environment In Focus Manufacturing Net-Zero Research Sustainability

Aerospace manufacturers focusing on sustainability can improve their relationships with stakeholders, select clean technologies, and use sustainable materials to stay competitive.

Decarbonization in aerospace manufacturing: Why change is needed right now

According to the Our World in Data, the aerospace industry is responsible for around 2% of global greenhouse emissions.

However, many aerospace companies have made a concerted effort over the past few decades to reduce their environmental impact. As a result, they are now some of the most sustainable businesses on the planet.

Some good examples of aviation fuel companies that have achieved net-zero flying include:

  • Neste (Finland)
  • World Energy (US)
  • Alder Fuels
  • SkyNRG

This has not gone unnoticed by investors, who are increasingly looking to invest in sustainable aerospace companies. For example, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said that it is looking to invest more in companies that are taking action on climate change.


That said, here’s why sustainability is essential for the aerospace industry and how companies can turn it into a business strength.

What Are The Benefits Of Sustainability In Aerospace?

Reducing Environmental Impact

Reducing environmental impact often means improving resource efficiency, leading to cost savings. It can also mean reducing waste and emissions, which improves the company’s image and complies with environmental regulations.

For example, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner is one of the most fuel-efficient airplanes ever built. It uses 20% less fuel than other airplanes its size, which saves money for the airlines and reduces environmental impact.

Boeing has also developed technology to recycle and reuse parts of airplanes. This reduces waste, improves aircraft preventive maintenance by using fewer new parts, and saves money.

Creating A Competitive Advantage

Sustainably-minded organizations are often agile and have an entrepreneurial mindset, allowing them to be open to new ideas and opportunities.

Being green also makes companies look good to customers and employees. According to 2021 research by IBM, half of the consumers surveyed said they would pay more for products and services from companies that are sustainable.

Improving Relationships With Stakeholders

Aerospace companies often deal with negative publicity due to their environmental impact. For instance, the industry is often criticized for contributing to climate change.

However, by focusing on sustainability, aerospace companies can improve their relationships with stakeholders such as environmentalists, NGOs, and the general public.

How Can Aerospace Companies Turn Sustainability Into Business Strength?

Investing In Clean Technologies

Clean technologies reduce pollution or waste and also help companies use resources more efficiently.

Some examples of clean technologies used in the aerospace industry include:

  • fuel-efficient airplane engines
  • more fuel-efficient airplanes
  • recycling and reuse programs

The best way to select clean technologies is to work with suppliers experienced in sustainable manufacturing. They can recommend the best technologies for your company’s specific needs.

Focusing On Sustainable Materials

Sustainable materials are often more expensive than traditional materials — but, they can help companies save money in the long run by reducing waste and environmental impact.

Some examples of sustainable materials used in the aerospace industry include:

  • recycled aluminum
  • composite materials
  • bamboo

When choosing sustainable materials, aerospace manufacturers should consider the following:

  • their life cycle
  • the way they will be used
  • their environmental impact

Aerospace manufacturers focusing on sustainability can improve their relationships with stakeholders, select clean technologies, and use sustainable materials. These actions will help improve operational efficiency and save the company money.


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