AAIS held a focus group discussion on sustainability on 31 Oct 2019. This was for members to share their organizational perspectives on sustainability and brainstorm impactful initiatives for industry-wide implementation in 2020 and beyond. Representatives from 10 organizations attended the lively and interactive discussion. Attendees were unanimous on the importance of sustainability and agreed that stakeholders’ concerns should be considered across the 4 pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental, social and governance.

For economic sustainability, all agreed that the aerospace industry needs to build a strong manpower pipeline. This entails attracting more women, seniors and persons with disabilities into the sector. Providing a conducive working environment, better benefits and adopting a diversity/inclusive hiring mindset would help attract and retain more talents. Some jobs may have to be redesigned to attract older workers, e.g. facilitating with robotics/exoskeletons to lighten manual work. Furthermore, there should be upstream efforts in engaging students on the career opportunities in the aerospace sector.

Environmental sustainability was a “hot” topic during the discussion. Attendees were supportive of the industry ramping up adoption of solar energy to reduce carbon emissions. There were other environmental ideas mooted, such as promoting the use of NEWater for production processes, rain-harvesting, moving from plastic to paper packaging, improving waste management, and centralizing the collection of recyclable materials.

On social sustainability and governance, attendees were in favour of learning journeys and sharing of sustainability practices as this would promote social interaction and build knowledge across companies, e.g. sharing on solar energy implementation and energy management systems. Attendees agreed that it would be useful to collate inputs from association members periodically on their sustainability initiatives and achievements. This can be used for tracking purposes and to publish a consolidated sustainability report card for the industry.

Industry representatives present agreed to prioritize and focus on low-hanging fruit for 2020, such as outreach to the schools, promoting solar energy adoption, coordinating educational programmes on sustainability for members and their staff, and developing the sector-wide sustainability report.