Aim High ‘Sustainable Futures’ Writing Competition Runner Up – SV


The 3 pillars of sustainability are very important in the future of engineering. Using these three pillars the industry is able to advance in technology whilst also tackling other issues, such as global warming. The three pillars are: Economic viability (profit), Social equity (people) and Environmental protection (planet). When discussing these three concepts we must not consider them as separate from one another but as a connected system. In order to achieve sustainability all three factors must be implemented within the industry.

The large demand on aviation for transport of goods is immense. In terms of value, one-third of global trade is done through the aviation industry. Whilst the pandemic may have grounded many commercial planes, the industry has proved to be essential during the pandemic by importing ventilators and PPE. Aviation is a catalyst for the economy and it is continuously growing at an immense speed. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) 2018 saw a 3.5% increase of passengers and this percentage is expected to increase (post-pandemic). Based on this, aviation with regards to the economy is hugely sustainable.

8,400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide are generated by the aviation industry every year. Due to this figure persistently rising, the aviation industry is working on improving the technology of aircrafts. In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, engineers have looked at substituting fuels of aircrafts to hydrogen or batteries. Despite the success of these substitutes in being less harmful to the environment, they are unable to compete with the use of fossil fuels.

In order to improve the environment, companies are investing in new technologies, such as Direct Air Capture. In 2016, ICAO created the the carbon and offsetting reduction scheme, this involved companies having to record their emissions and according to this they had to support projects that work to reduce emissions. This forces companies to be more efficient in their use of aviation technology and also increases the demand for environmentally sustainable planes, thus more engineers globally are attempting to find a solution.

The final pillar of sustainability is social equity. The aviation industry worldwide supports 1.12% of people and this figure is presumed to climb as demand increases. However, due to the pandemic, many people have been displaced from jobs and many companies have been forced to close permanently. All these people need to remain within the aviation industry in order for it to continue to grow and to avoid a shortage in to the profession.

Furthermore, companies must continue to engage with students. A great example of this is Fly2Help organising several interesting speakers from the industry to talk to students about aviation and what it entails. Companies should also continue providing apprenticeships opportunities for the future of the industry.

To conclude, in order to keep aviation as a sustainable industry, all three pillars must be balanced. There is significant overlap between the concepts and therefore the three pillars of sustainability should be understood to be a connected system

Back in February, Fly2Help ran its Aim High Sustainable Futures Programme.

Thirty one teenagers took part in three days of talks by inspirational speakers such as DfT Aviation Ambassador, Jake Brattle, Paul Mahy-Rhodes MEIT, and representatives from Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin, Flyby Technology, Electroflight, Skyborne, ZeroAvia, UK Research and Innovation, TEKTowr, and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The Aviation Base contributed by producing learning materials for the students to tie all the talks together, and born out of this was a writing competition based on the ‘3 Pillars’ of Sustainability. The 500-word articles were judged and the winner was awarded £500 worth of gliding lessons.

Fly2Help will be running another Sustainable Futures programme in October, so if you would like to be involved or know any teenagers that might benefit, please get in touch with them.

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