Higher sustainability levels in the supply industry

Roland Berger Sustainability Keynote

To what extent are aviation industry suppliers capable of achieving higher sustainability levels? That was the question examined in a new survey by the consultancy Roland Berger which was presented at the Sustainability Keynote at ILA Berlin.

The majority of aerospace industry suppliers in Germany and France were aware of the need to substantially reduce CO2 emissions. By developing sustainable aviation technology they were assisting the transformation of the aviation industry. In its survey, which polled 89 suppliers from Germany and France, the consultancy Roland Berger examined the role these technologies played inside the companies.

Approximately two-thirds of the companies polled were already working on sustainable innovations. Larger companies in particular operated in this field. For the majority of respondents progress was not moving fast enough. According to them, the main obstacles were a lack of financial and human resources, insufficient expertise and a lack of support from aircraft manufacturers.

SAFs are not enough

One current focus of the companies is on fuels for conventional aircraft and propulsion systems. Only a minority of respondents believe hydrogen or battery-electric power are technologies worth pursuing to achieve the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) goal of net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. This view was echoed by Dr. Dietrich Brockhagen, founder and CEO of Atmosfair, which the team of Roland Berger had interviewed for its survey. In his opinion, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) will not be enough to achieve net zero emissions. A joint roadmap that also embraced green energy was needed to make further progress, he said.

That was what the interviewees wanted too. In order to take on a more active role in developing sustainable technologies and to increase the pace, suppliers would like more support from aircraft manufacturers. Joint R&D projects and transparency in planning anticipated order volumes would be of help in that respect.

Policymakers needed to act too. By developing and communicating a coherent long-term policy, governments could provide support for sustainable aviation. More funding for research and development was needed. The survey also noted the importance of industry associations for the supply industry.