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Are you Four the Future? Q&A with Richard Wake

Are you Four the Future? Q&A with Richard Wake

En Route / Blog

Both passengers and airline operators alike are becoming more concerned with sustainability within the travel industry. Our innovation team, led by our Creative and Marketing Director Richard Wake, launched our Four the Future strategy at WTCE 2019. The strategy is part of our promise to lead positive change within the industry.

We sat down with Richard to find out more about the strategy, and how it aims to create steps towards sustainable skies.

What is Four the Future?

It is essentially a strategy aiming to improve En Route’s impact on the environment.

As a responsible global business, En Route is passionate about developing products which help to reduce the impact on the environment.

By creating a framework to shape our activity, we aim to drive and encourage behavioural change throughout our supply chain.

Our creative and agile approach means we are able to take on any challenge and provide solutions that can make a difference anywhere in the world.

How was FTF developed?

This has really been developing over a process of a few years. We have worked with different customers and stakeholders for a number of years to develop products which place environmental considerations at the heart of what we do.

What I’ve noticed over the years, is that the industry has peaked interest in this and dropped it again. Throughout this, we’ve continued to work behind the scenes on making continuous improvements to our products and services.

What are you aiming to do with this?

We will be building the four pillars of ‘Four The Future’ into our existing innovation process. These pillars will become KPIs which we will use to measure how well a new product concept performs environmentally.

The pillars are:

Reduce – unnecessary packaging without harming product performance

Remove – non-renewable materials which either take too long to biodegrade or cannot be recycled

Replace – environmentally damaging materials with kinder alternatives

Reimagine – service design and delivery by identifying opportunities to reduce environmental impact through innovation

By utilising these elements we will be able to make sure we are properly considering how each element of a product or service is developed to fully optimise the potential for a reduction in environmental impact at each stage of the development process, and throughout our supply chain. This, in turn, will also help our customers and partners to meet their own unique environmental targets and ensuring our strategy will be a force for good in our industry.

Why are you doing it now?

We’ve created lots of great products in the past and time is right now to kick on a take it to the next level. This framework will give us that opportunity to really push this forward even further.

This is a launchpad for deeper growth and has automatically become a key focus for us. It will become a cornerstone of everything we do and do much to help us to get the best out of our journey.

We’ve set targets that will further drive it. We will measure this and continue to monitor and improve our work.

What targets have you set?

There are a number of targets which will also develop with time. These include:

• All hot handheld packaging will be made from biodegradable materials by 2020

• All cheese packaging will be made from recycled, recyclable or compostable materials by 2020

• All bakery packaging will be made from biodegradable or compostable materials by 2020

We will also conduct a full audit of all packaging used across our entire supply chain, across all products sold. Ensure all packaging from passenger facing products to outer cases is optimised to minimise unnecessary packaging by 2020.

Importantly, we will embed environmental KPIs into all innovation projects immediately.

Who is involved in delivering FTF?

This is designed to embed itself within the whole business, influence suppliers, and engage customers. We all have role to play and this framework gives us a platform to have deeper and measurable conversations.

How will this happen?

We have already seen some great results. As part of our FTF activity, we have cut the overall product weight of our Emirates Business Class cheese by more than 20 tonnes per year by reducing its packaging.

We have also used this framework as our innovation KPIs for WTCE in Hamburg recently. The four elements have been a driving force in creating either completely new products or products which have an incremental innovation.

For more information about our Four the Future strategy and how we can help you with your journey towards sustainable skies, get in touch.

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