The challenging of the norms of the flying experience, that questioning about what we include in a cabin and what we could live without should remain one of the guiding principles of the aircraft interiors industry. Once those choices have been validated, manufacturers then need to act as the guardians of the circular economy, not only through sourcing sustainably themselves but, more importantly, by handing on a lineage of bona fide circular credentials. After all, circular products can allow a business to become more competitive as it earns a tangible financial bonus for extending the value of everything it makes.
Sadly, the absence of a universal assurance system stymies the interiors industry’s ability to move forward on circularity so the efforts of those working towards creating a more unified approach across the industry’s supply chain must be applauded.
It’s fair to say that progress will only be achieved through collaboration – from the outset at the conceptual stage through to materials selection and eventual manufacture. At each stage, all the various complex and competing issues need to be resolved with circular principles front and centre.
Businesses are only successful in sourcing sustainably when they include the principles of circularity in their purchasing decisions, ensuring that the design and manufacture of products they need aligns with responsible consumption in a bid to fulfil their own net zero transition plan.
The role of the airlines is critical here. In researching this issue’s cover story on whole- life sustainability, the many experts who were interviewed admitted that while the end users of the product in its primary use phase have a critical part to play, they do not often make their purchasing decisions based on circular principles.
Why? Airlines perhaps struggle to grasp the complexity of the circular dimension of modern cabin interiors. And who can blame them when there is such a lack of transparency in what goes into making advanced products? This is where the industry needs to make progress. Yes, it needs to move to best practice models but equally it needs to communicate honestly about the sustainable provenance and the circular potential of its products. After all, one of the key drivers that influences the success of circular purchasing is a sense of direction. The cabin interiors industry must develop that sense of direction – and share it.