The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) has released the third annual comprehensive study undertaken on the sustainable transformation of the air cargo industry.

As part of TIACA's Sustainability program, launched in November 2019, the organization continues to track and assess the sustainable transformation of the air cargo industry through its annual industry survey involving supply chain partners from across the globe, within each industry sector and business size.


In its most recent report, TIACA — which represents all segments of the air freight supply chain — saw a 28% increase in respondents, helping the organization build a more comprehensive assessment.


The responses have then been analyzed and published to reflect how the industry progressed compared to the first assessment in 2020, which in turn continue to drive TIACA's sustainability positions and strategy as part of its Sustainability Roadmap.

"Sustainability is clearly on the minds of our industry colleagues, and while 'Sustainability' is a broad concept, through our work, we are able to bring awareness to the industry that it is more than just the environment. Sustainability is doing good for the planet, people and business and at TIACA, we like to do this through partnerships and innovation," said Glyn Hughes, TIACA director-general.


TIACA noted that in the report, 64% of respondents state that the sustainability pressure has increased compared to last year, mainly driven by customers and regulators.


There is also a clear link between ESG action and reputation, according to 85% of respondents, and 75% of the respondents emphasize that sustainability is more important than last year.


The findings also showed that 76% of companies have confirmed they have a sustainability strategy in place and that more companies have dedicated teams and budgets to drive sustainability.


TIACA noted that 52% of companies also produce a sustainability report, and 50% of companies involved in the air freight supply chain have upgraded their fleets to cleaner aerial and ground vehicles.


It added that airlines, ground handlers and freight forwarders show the largest investment in the use of SAF to decarbonize, and overall SAF commitments make slow progress and are led by large companies.


The report highlighted that airlines lead the way with single-use plastics reduction up by 16% from 2022, among others, and 52% of companies —  primarily airlines and ground handlers — make efforts to improve local air quality.


TIACA said freight forwarders had taken the lead in reducing their noise impact.


Meanwhile, the report also found digitalization maturing across the board and has increased to 78% from 66% and noted that 79% of air cargo companies focus on improving efficiencies and operational excellence.


"The third annual report clearly demonstrates that we as an industry are moving forward when it comes to increasing sustainable air cargo, but there is a lot more work to be done," said Steven Polmans, chair of TIACA.


"Assessing your company's progress when it comes to sustainability helps highlight where improvements can be made, and TIACA's BlueSky Program is just the tool to help," he added.