Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sustainability Management of Buyers in the Airport Industry to 2012

Although there is an increase in the demand for sustainable products and services across the airport industry, the survey has identified that fewer buyer organizations are actually willing to pay more for sustainable products and services.

LondonOctober 19, 2011 – The sustainability management budgets of airports industry buyers are expected to rise by an average of over 5% over the next year, with nearly half of survey respondents expecting an increase. ‘Cost savings’, ‘managing corporate reputation’ and ‘compliance with legislation’ are considered to be the major reasons for the increase in sustainability budgets.

The positive trends seen here indicate a rising awareness in the importance of corporate sustainability management, even in times of financial crisis. The results demonstrate a managerial awareness of how a focus on sustainability can help to both mitigate risks and increase the opportunities arising from long-term economic, environmental and social trends.

Buyers expect a rise of over 5% in sustainability budgets
ICD Research’s Industry Survey 2010 revealed that the sustainability management budgets of buyer respondents are expected to rise by an average of over 5% over the next year. However, several buyer companies also wish to decrease their sustainability budget due to the recession.

Further analysis of respondents reveals that both buyer and supplier companies are planning allocate a considerable amount of their procurement budget on stakeholder awareness, education and training.

Saving costs and managing corporate reputation encourage the adoption of sustainability practices
Airport operator company respondents consider ‘cost savings’, ‘managing corporate reputation’ and ‘compliance with legislation’ to be major factors in the adoption of sustainability practices. Airport support services companies are also influenced by similar factors; however, these respondents consider ‘attracting new customers’ to have a higher influence than ‘compliance with legislation’.

While sustainability is often considered costly, ‘cost savings’ is actually a major factor in the adoption of sustainable practices for the majority of companies in the airports industry. Companies that manage and plan their operations to reduce environmental impacts are able to identify significant savings in capital and operational costs. Furthermore, processes that consume fewer resources, and have lower emissions and waste streams are beneficial to the organization, its customers and the environment.

Buyer respondents identified ‘difficulty to change habits of the existing employees’, ‘lack of clear business case’, ‘lack of understanding or awareness’ and ‘difficult to measure’ to be the most important challenges to the effective implementation of sustainable practices in the airports industry.

ISO 14001 certification and the use of recyclable products major criteria for supplier selection
The ICD Research Industry Survey 2010 identified that the majority of buyer companies consider ISO 14001 certification, which is designed to help companies achieve consistent environmental regulatory compliance and embeds the concept of continuous improvements in environmental performance, and the use of recyclable products to be major criteria for supplier selection.

Although buyer companies have established policies to incorporate sustainable procurement, they are yet to include reporting on greenhouse gas emissions as a specific criterion for selection. Companies that are already implementing these measures are doing so because of other factors, such as cost reduction, waste reduction, corporate reputation and competitiveness.

Sustainability more important following the recession
Notably, over one-third of airport operator respondents state that they consider sustainability to be more important following the recession. Furthermore, 40% of airport support services respondents consider sustainability to be more important or a leading priority after the recession. Increasing awareness of and demand for environmental concerns are making sustainable initiatives a point of differentiation between supplier companies.

As a significant number of buyer companies consider sustainability practices to be either important or a leading priority, design and engineering companies are encouraged to design airports that will be sustainable in terms of economic, environmental and social factors.

To purchase the full version of the ‘Sustainability Management in the Airports Industry 2010–12: Market Opportunities, Airports Industry Buyer Demand, Post-Recession Dynamics and Business Trends Forecast’ report, please click here.

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For more information on the article, please contact:

Shelly Wills
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7936 6671

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