How do you turn resistance into flow?

Turn unsubscribe, delete, not a priority, pending, no reply into proactive and productive ways forward.

This article is written from our founders experience from the last 3 years of conversations with all types of sectors.

I’ve discovered it’s time, understanding, respect for each other’s agendas and friendly approaches. 

Our role at FGA is to encourage systems change but that isn’t easy for every organisation.

Sarah Wilkin – founder and CEO

Why is systems change not easy?

From our time meeting senior decision makers in a spectrum of sectors as well as the sustainability champion/managers in the organisations we’ve seen and heard many reasons that the champions feel things are becoming blocked:

  • Culture and attitude of the company/organisation 
  • Senior management buy-in/if there is a sustainability representative on the exec board
  • Cross function politics 
  • It’s not currently imperative for business operations  
  • Requires new unit or work stream to be set up
  • Budget 
  • Not enough staff/resource to manage projects 
  • Too much workload 
  • Diversity
  • Location of HQ 
  • Government regulations 
  • Locked into established supply chains 
  • CFO/legal – if you need new contracts to push forward change, ways of working or suppliers this takes time and may take many meetings to convince the CFO and put the case forward

Are you recognising many or all blockers in this list? 

If you are finding a lot of these are in place and you are the sustainability champion/manager then we advise you to find like minded people, including senior managers, in your organisations and make a group. Stay well read, meet consultants, attend events, stay positive, build a business case and plan for the bigger picture.  Few people enjoy change especially if it is questioning their behaviour or the organisation’s business model or business as usual. Although we need strong drivers in this transition you have to build your support, respect and present at timely opportunities, be well versed and be professional. Represent yourself well and encourage polite conversation. If it becomes unproductive or hostile then take a break. 

The sustainability/energy transition discussion is a social, environmental, economical and equity discussion and it’s not easy. If you feel compelled and driven then stick with it!  


We got you! We post insights, behaviour change and personal development articles on our channels to support you to navigate an extremely complex topic.


Turning football’s attention towards sustainable travel

As more football clubs make commitments around climate action, reducing the impact of how they move players and fans should be top of the agenda

Travel can account for up to 90% of the overall carbon footprint of football clubs and organisations. It’s a significant challenge for the professional game, which is reliant on global travel, with players and spectators hopping from city to city (and country to country) to compete and watch.

A handful of clubs are trying to address this through the provision of car sharing and public transit options. Spanish La Liga club, Real Betis, has carried out a survey for employees and fans, shaping their decision to promote sustainable transport through initiatives such as an electric scooter partnership with Lime and through their platform Forever Green will begin the development of a sustainable travel policy.

In the English Premier League, Brighton & Hove Albion is one of many clubs focused on reducing their scope three (third party emissions generated through suppliers or travel) travel footprint by offering free public transport to fans within a designated travel zone.

Fellow Premier League outfit, Arsenal, has established a mobility policy pledging that the club will “endeavour to minimise impacts from travel by reviewing freight and delivery ordering, minimising business travel and encouraging staff to reduce car use by walking, cycling or using public transport”.

Last season’s FA Cup winners also provide cycling provision for staff moving between sites.

At a continental level, UEFA, European football’s governing body, is focusing part of its Football and Social Responsibility work on mobility, particularly at its major events such as its upcoming European Championships in Germany in 2024.

Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA’s president, has committed to avoiding concepts like the multiple-city European Championships, occurring later this year, in the future, and a concerted effort to organise more ‘carbon-friendly’ fixtures. The organisation gave its support to the European Union’s Green Deal proposal last year, and launched its ‘Cleaner air, better game’ campaign around improving air quality – but the increase in the number of teams competing in the Champions League (from 32 to 36) in 2024 raises concerns that travel, and specifically flying, will become more frequent for the competition.

Reducing flight-related emissions is the most complex piece of the sustainable travel puzzle. There’s no way around tackling this issue head on for football clubs and organisations – particularly those that have made net zero commitments and producing sustainability strategies. There are a few ways in which they can action on this:

– Creating an overarching sustainable travel policy to include more rail, electric vehicle, public transports, car sharing, electric scooters, economy over first class flying, parking for bikes, and virtual meetings provision

– For event organisers, choosing the best host location, based on where fans and staff are likely to travel from and sustainable travel options

– Consistently measure your scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions – particularly scope 3, in which travel sites – to see how you can improve

– For unavoidable travel emissions, think about investing in legitimate carbon offsets, such as those provided by Gold Standard

– Scrutinise your organisation’s ‘say/do’ gap – i.e. what you say you’re willing to do to fight climate change, and what you’ll actually do – more information on this in the following article here

– Keep up to date with the latest news, trends, technology and new ways of thinking around travel by consuming reliable reports and other media

– Join us at Fly Green Alliance, which aggregates commitments to buying sustainable fuel, fostering partnerships, building green travel programmes, and managing offtake agreements.

Travel will always be a part of professional football. But by taking concrete steps towards sustainable mobility, the game can continue to please audiences around the globe with a much-reduced footprint. It only takes a bit of commitment and innovation.

Sarah Wilkin writes as Sustainability Consultant for TACKLE, a UEFA supported initiative, and is founder and CEO of Fly Green Alliance – consultants and experts in green travel, sustainable aviation fuel, and pioneers of the alliance based funding mechanism to support paying for green fuel.  

FGA Travel Smart: Strategic travel policy development involving scenario building, measurement, reporting, sustainable fuels and partnerships.

FGA in BTN – Sustainability should be front and centre of travel’s recovery

Several years ago airline organisation IATA suggested that annual global passenger numbers would double, to 7.8 billion, by 2036. In 2020, however, international passenger demand fell by 75 per cent and domestic demand by nearly half.

Covid-19 has rocked global aviation and even the most optimistic observers do not expect ‘normal’ levels to return for three to five years. And what of that prediction for 2036? Right now, it’s difficult to envisage that.

The pandemic has changed our attitudes not only to the way in which we do business, but also towards sustainability and, as air travel recovers, suppliers and corporates alike will build back greener.

For businesses this means reducing travel volumes, carbon counting and offsetting our impact. For suppliers it means developing and adopting more efficient technology and innovating like never before.

It’s very much understood that we won’t all be going back to the office in the same way and that remote working and videoconferencing will, on the whole, remain in some form to help reduce costs and support home/work balance.

I’m sure most of us miss travel right now and don’t want overseas holidays and work trips to be a thing of the past. We also miss the connection of face-to-face meetings, so how can we do business, build back better and hit emissions targets in our new world?

Aviation is one of the most difficult industries to decarbonise and reduce emissions. It needs collaboration and partnerships to bring solutions to the table. It is our role at FGA to foster such relationships and also to work with organisations to help them develop sustainable travel policies.

Simple first steps should include:
• Shifting more journeys from air to rail travel where possible
• Considering whether trips are truly essential before they are approved
• Continuing to use videoconferencing even when the world opens up again
• Implement permanent remote working policies and set-ups
• Purchasing sustainable aviation fuel offsets or credits

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are one of a basket of measures approved and agreed upon by ICAO, European member states, IATA and other leading bodies and experts in the sector.

Last year, in fact, SAF producer Neste delivered renewable jet fuel to Zurich Airport during the World Economic Forum in Davos, enabling business jets flying in and out of the airport to blend it with fossil jet fuel, compared with which it has an 80 per cent smaller carbon footprint.

However, from our own research we found only half of travel managers know what sustainable aviation fuels are and, according to our research partner Ipsos Mori, the figure is only 30 per cent among the general public. Clearly there is a need for education on this front.

On a more positive note, we are engaging with increasingly more travel management companies, corporates and their travellers, among whom interest in sustainable travel is rapidly growing. TMCs are committed to providing innovative tools to help clients confront their environmental responsibilities.

We must all play a part in making business travel less harmful to the environment, whether we are a supplier, buyer or intermediary. Our role is to grow awareness, stimulate interest and facilitate conversations and partnerships that facilitate greener travel. We hope you’ll join us on that journey.

Read the full article on the BTN site and online here.

Carbon fasting on earth day!

For Earth Day we want to post about our individual acts of ‘carbon fasting’ which all contribute to emission reduction and environmental goals in our own lives. Like in the ‘5 and 2’ diet where you fast for 2 days and eat normally on the rest, we think that this thinking could work when trying to reduce our own footprint. There has been much discussion about carbon budgets in businesses and calculating carbon lately and it’s all quite hard to understand, and relate to, especially when carbon is in metric tonnes which we can’t even imagine.

It’s very individual what you can achieve, what is essential to one is expendable to another, so our approach is fast what you can in your life, so you can save for what you want or need. A few things we’ve done recently in our day-to-day lives:

  • Recycling
  • Reusing
  • Washing powder in cardboard box, not plastic
  • Washing your clothes on a quick wash
  • Not using a tumble dryer
  • More showers over baths
  • Buying vintage clothes, less clothes or rent clothes from a subscription based clothes store
  • Filling up our olive oil from a bottle-fill shop
  • Turn down the heating a degree or so
  • Taking egg carton boxes back to the shop to reuse
  • Switched to green electricity
  • Wee-gan – week day vegan/Having vegetarian or plant-based diet days
  • Eurostar to London from Amsterdam
  • Flixbus to Brussel from Amsterdam
  • No car, cycling or walking in the city or public transport – we know not possible for all

Earth Day is about collective acts and we agree that some behavioural changes and an open mind nudges along some big changes, energy savings and general awareness.

This FT Weekend article suggests some of the best ways to reduce carbon including having less children!

Last year we decided to create the idea of ‘carbon fasting ‘ and would love to hear your feedback. Is this an easy way to think about it? Does having a budget or ‘basket’ of carbon help ? Knowing the calories of food is said to help people to choose more wisely and reduce their intake. Would this be the case on carbon? The European Commission have already started an Eco label pilot which is testing just that. We think that not everyone at all times can reduce their carbon but you could save some for when you need it and you can offset. We need to live and do want to travel, we’ve seen this even more in the pandemic but we’ve also seen you can live fairly simply and can still successfully conduct business online which all reduces collective carbon. At FGA we do have a pragmatic approach to carbon reduction and this is why many choose to work with us. We do still want to travel, visit family and friends and new countries. We also prefer to come up with suggestions and solutions which we hope organisations and individuals can add to their lives.

That is why when we looked into it we asked, what makes practical sense? We have always advocated for more virtual and less frequent business travel, this will be a given now.

Business models are already starting to change in travel, insight that has been shared with us, our energy sources are going to change such as using sustainable aviation fuels and we are pushing into a new phase now globally. It’s unlikely contracts will require us in the office full time or even state which country you need to do that work from, we have seen this first hand. This is a huge fundamental change in how we will live and travel. Are you ready to embrace it or nervous it will change your life? Are you going to stay in the old school or step in to the new?

Airlines are switching to paper containers for inflight meals, removing single use plastics, saying sustainability will be a competitive advantage and working on sharing the cost of sustainable fuel with corporate customers like we do with Fly Green Alliance and FGA Travel Smart. In 2018 the International Women’s Day hashtag was push for progress and this year’s is choose to challenge. All sentiments we live by at FGA. On business models, climate and DEI.

Happy Earth Day, why not experiment with your own basket of carbon today? Switch off appliances, choose to walk, and eat a plant-based lunch. There are many ways to carbon fast. If you would like to discuss this concept and the trends work that FGA Consultancy does then email: sarah@flygreenalliance.org

France to ban short-haul domestic flights

Last week, France’s National Assembly voted a ban on domestic flights that can be covered by a train journey in under 2.5 hours. The 2.5 hour line fixed is an attempt to find a middle ground between lowering carbon emissions from transport, whilst avoiding a hard blow to the air travel industry, already weakened by the past year’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. Reducing air travel is part of a bigger plan to lower France’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The bill has caused debate between the citizens’ climate convention set up by President Emmanuel Macron, and France’s airlines. On one hand, the High Council on Climate (HCC) considers that the limit, 2.5 hours, which was originally meant to be 4 hours, is much too low. The 4 hour limit was reduced after airline representatives objected that the airline industry has already suffered and doesn’t need additional slowing down of its activities.

Banning flights that can be covered by a four-hour long train journey would have suppressed 18 connections, lowering carbon emissions by 12.5%. For a four-hour flight, air travel produces 77% more carbon emissions per passenger than for the same distance with France’s high-speed TGV trains. Instead, only 5 connections were suppressed. In 2019, these represented only 10% of all of France’s air traffic – constituting a 3% decrease of carbon emissions, not considered enough to make a real impact. France has already overrun on its 2015-2018 carbon budget by emitting more than 61 Mt eqCO2 (millions of tonnes equivalent) and is currently not reducing its emissions at a fast enough rate, according to climatologist and HCC president Corinne Le Quéré. 

Moreover, the ban came a few days after it was revealed that the French government was supplying state aid of 4 billion euros to help the recovery of Air France, France’s flag-carrier airline. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister Delegate in charge of industry, insisted that there is no contradiction between banning short flights and providing financial support to Air France saying that the government is accompanying the industry as it transitions to a new business model, and states that her vision of 2030 is one where there are fewer carbon emissions but just as many planes. However, at the same time French and British governments have said they will not bailout Eurostar which will be one of the key replacements of short haul flights between the UK and Europe and a sure fire way to reduce emissions from travel across Europe.

There are two arguments against raising the bar to four hours. First, a ban on 18 flight trajectories would force Air France to lay-off a significant number of staff in both airports and airlines, contributing to the already high unemployment rate. Second, some French territories could find themselves isolated, contributing to the inequity between France’s regions. There are also concerns that giving trains the monopoly and erasing competition from airlines for the same trips could harm the future long-term development of the air travel sector.

At Fly Green Alliance, we believe that flying less for is part of the solution. Doubling of air passengers to 7.8 billion by 2036 doesn’t align with emmission reduction plans and in February this year the European aviation plan ‘Destination 2050’ acknowledged that a reduction of demand by 12% was needed. FGA asks corporate travellers to carefully consider whether business can be conducted online or whether a trip is necessary, something that will undoubtedly be happening going forward since the pandemic has highlighted and made possible changes in habits and ways of working, while increasing the sustainable travel and climate agenda. We ask if a trip can be replaced by rail but we also envision a world with the magnificent technology that makes a plane fly, and believe that adopting other measures in tandem with rail works towards an integrated energy transition plan across the transport sector. 2021 being the European Commission Year of rail which FGA will be supporting through FGA Travel Smart and other initiatives.

Fly Green Alliance is a strong proponent of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Contact Sarah Wilkin to find out how your company can transition to a more sustainable travel program.

Sarah Wilkin on SAF alliances and United Airline’s Eco-Skies Alliance

Sarah Wilkin founder & CEO of Fly Green Alliance was asked to comment on the United Airline’s co-funded SAF programme ‘Eco-Skies Alliance’.

FGA, pioneers in SAF global solutions, set up Fly Green Alliance and subsequently FGA Travel Smart to do exactly this. Asking the corporate world, do you want to fly green? Then working out how much their total carbon is and building sustainable travel policies which include commitment to sustainable aviation fuel and offsetting.

“Corporate customers are moving fast to develop sustainable travel solutions, mechanisms and SAF offsets,” said Sarah Wilkin, chief executive of Fly Green Alliance, an Amsterdam-based SAF consultancy that have built a sustainable travel programme. “The key is to create and adopt measurable programmes, tools and reporting systems that work towards carbon neutral commitments and ESG policy developments. We believe commitments through an alliance will support the SAF industry scale up, accelerate investments and increase project developments, which is needed to reach 2050 targets.”

You can read the full article written by Mark Pilling online on the GreenAir News website.

DEI in the workplace

= Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Most of us have a good grasp of diversity and inclusion.

So what is equity?

Equity is about fairness, justice and impartiality in procedure, processes and distribution by institutions or in systems.

It’s about having and feeling you have the same ability to get promoted, to contribute and have the same impact as others.

As we know it, equity is usually the word we use when discussing how much value/cash/collateral we have in a property. If your equity is low then you have less money, bargaining power and ability to move or make a change. In a work situation we could say it is the same.

Mentorship is important to us at FGA and before we knew about the equity part of DEI we realised and discussed that the way we operate is important to us and creates a company culture that we want to portray to others. One of our graduate’s Pauline said recently:

“What I have liked the most about the internship so far is how you can work at your own rhythm, how it doesn’t feel hierarchical and being able to have open conversations with Sarah (FGA founder) ranging from what’s happening with FGA (and feeling like I’m treated as an equal member of the board and not as just the intern) to personal development!” 

Pauline Ronnet – FGA Graduate

Our conclusion on equity is that it is about being listen to, compensated fairly, treated well and given the opportunity to speak up in a two-way conversation with the ability to get fair feedback.

We see from our company and other’s that creating high equity for employees means higher staff retention, a positive working culture, a more innovative business and offer, a more resilient workforce who have the ability to handle change and crisis better, which all lead to increased financial and reputational benefits for an organisation.

Is there much DEI in aviation?

From our conversations we see there are DEI champions/promoters in many organisation in aviation but the industry is open about it not being at the forefront of DEI, however we see new roles appearing which are promoting culture, diversity and inclusion much more as well as the development of mental health policies and increased women in aviation events.

We also see companies such as Booking.com for example have new role developments such as an Inclusion, Diversity, Belonging Specialist.

Understanding people, their motivations, their struggles, agendas and goals can only do a business good when building resilience and a strong stable workforce.

At FGA, as a female strong team, and a promoter of mental health policies in the workplace we have decided to add a DEI function to our work and look forward to developing this further in the coming months.

FGA

Tier 1 of S.T.A.R.S complete – sustainability standards for the business aviation sector

Sarah Wilkin on behalf of Fly Green Alliance (FGA) has joined a working group of aviation professionals who are happy to be part of the sustainable transformation of the business aviation sector. Through the creation of the new sustainability standards operators, FBOs and ground handling will be guided through a step-by-step process leading them to more sustainable operations all round.

Tier 1 has been written and completed! On to tier 2…

Read more about the S.T.A.R.S. programme here lead by European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) https://lnkd.in/egjq32b

“Our group is a motivated happy team who are pleased to be contributing to the positive changes of the sector. Guided by Bruce Parry and Taunya Renson-Martin we’re making great progress and look forward to completing all 3 tiers in the coming months.”
– Sarah Wilkin

FGA

Bridging the say/do gap in sustainability

On the 25th March, our industry partner Ipsos MORI released their second #Ipsosinsights webinar of the year. They explored the discrepancies between what people say they are willing to do to fight climate change versus what they actually do, the role of the industry, and how to be a more sustainable company.

Ipsos MORI is a global market research company which conducts research in more than 140 markets in order to help companies gain an understanding of societies, markets and people in order to navigate the complex and emerging concept of sustainability.

The days when sustainable company practices were considered a nice-to-have add-on are long past. Consumer concern for sustainability is at an all-time high, higher than in 2019 before the pandemic. People are starting to make the links between climate change, coronavirus and the world around them. Globally, 71% feel climate change is as serious and long-term an issue as Covid-19. Moreover, younger people are more likely to demand systemic change from industries and governments. Their actions are in the form of boycotting brands or attending protests.   

It is now clear that sustainability is a business imperative which must be structurally implemented across the entire value chain, in a way that pursues environmental, social and governance issues simultaneously – because these issues, like the pandemic, are interlinked and do not occur in silos.

If a company gets it wrong, it runs the reputational risk of greenwashing accusations. But doing nothing will lead to other competitors taking over, all things being equal. According to Jessica Long, Head of Sustainability at Ipsos Mori UK, there are 4 elements to focus on in the journey to implementing a more sustainable business model:

  1. Address your current environmental impact first before making sustainability innovations
  2. Know and understand your consumer mindset
  3. Sustainability as a business value must be executed across the whole board, at the corporate level as well as just at the brand level
  4. Consider your ability to actually deliver sustainable changes

Long also employed the ‘shields and swords’ metaphor to illustrate the need for fulfilling basic consumer expectations around sustainability (the idea of defense) whilst simultaneously maintaining a unique selling point to get ahead of competitors (the idea of attack). For example, every company is now setting ‘net-zero-by-2050’ goals, therefore this is now a defensive play (shield) rather than an innovation (sword) as it allows your company to keep on top of the sustainable table stakes. Moreover, cutting down or offsetting carbon emissions is increasingly becoming a business hygiene factor (a company policy that helps prevent employee dissatisfaction). Sustainability innovations (swords) are necessary if you want to be considered a leader in this space, as Long explains: “What’s your unique selling point and what are you doing uniquely to drive the sustainability conversation and to drive the impact forward?”

Pursuing shields without swords, aka doing what all other companies are currently doing, yet not innovating in order to maintain your company’s unique selling point, can lead to your company becoming a laggard in this space and getting overtaken by competitors. But on the other hand, pursuing shields without swords – i.e., not keeping on top of the table stakes and not fulfilling basic sustainability expectations first – could lead to greenwashing risks and accusations.

It’s not a simple topic and measurement and reporting is still under development. Many are starting with the shield approach discussed but want to advance to the sword.

At Fly Green Alliance, our FGA Travel Smart™ program can help your company reach its carbon neutral targets and keep on top of the table stakes by measuring and offsetting carbon while also working with you on an innovative green travel programme. We’re also beginning to work with our clients on the innovation work through workshopping and partnership development which is why we continually look for new approaches, ideas and partners so we can offer informed advice and sound ‘sword’ solutions.

Contact sarah@flygreenalliance.org for more information.

The top business travel trends for 2021

Earlier this week, our industry partner American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) hosted a webinar on the travel trends for the year ahead for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. They revealed 7 upcoming trends: air corridors, new rules for sourcing hotel programs, technology and more personalised ground travel options, sustainability, traveller and employee wellbeing, strengthening travel engagement and updated policies for the new travel landscape. Perhaps unsurprisingly as a result of the coronavirus health crisis, digital health wallets and air corridors were voted as the trend most likely to dominate the business travel industry by the attendees of the webinar. Employee well-being, updated policies and sustainability also received major percentages of the vote.

Employee wellbeing is the third of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages”). Sustainability is not only about capping emissions; it is also about sustaining individual health and wellbeing which can be helped by implementing a supportive company culture. At FGA, employee wellbeing is one of our core values – read our article published on International Woman’s Day on why happier employees are more resilient at work. No longer an optional nice-to-have benefit, a preventative approach to mental and physical health leapt to the forefront of company priorities when the pandemic led to a wave of psychological distress. At FGA, we support and mentor our employees’ career development and actively encourage flexible working. GBT also highlights several ways in which you can help safeguard your travelling employees’ wellbeing.

Covid-19 has caused significant changes to how people travel, how often they travel and where they go. Remote working has become much more common, with virtual communication proving that travel is not completely essential for collaboration and productivity. Face-to-face meetings and events will eventually return in the longer-term but never to the same degree, with face-to-face technology compensating where travel is not considered essential.  With health and safety having become a major concern, businesses will have to update their travel policies to take new risks into account. This may take the shape of tighter travel approval processes and speaking to reservation agents or consultants before booking a trip. We are working on making the travel policies also sustainable.

With less than 10 years left to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement emissions targets, the pandemic has offered the opportunity for many companies to review their business travel policies by making sustainability a priority.  Limiting greenhouse gas emissions from business travel is important to reducing a company’s overall carbon footprint, as well as integrating offsetting and sustainable aviation fuel. Get in touch with sarah@flygreenalliance.org to discuss how our FGA Travel Smart™ can help your company meet its carbon neutral commitments.