The Case for Sustainability in the Advanced Air Mobility Industry

October 25, 2021

By Daniela Schaff, Wisk’s Sr. Staff Supply Chain Manager

Sustainability is gaining more and more importance everywhere in the world across all demographics. Whether it’s employees walking out of corporate offices in protest, governments banning short haul flights, or activist investors buying their way onto boards of companies to ensure that sustainability measures are becoming part of a company’s strategy, the demands on companies to do their part in combating climate change are increasing in quantity, quality, and directions they are coming from.

It’s clear that the transportation industry is starting to evolve towards a more sustainable future. But, for the Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) industry it soon may not be enough anymore to “just” be flyinging electric to satisfy said demands from current and future employees, customers, investors, and regulators. Ultimately, establishing a carbon neutral service and delivering an Unmanned Aircraft System that considers circular supply chain principles (reuse & recycle) will be crucial — not only in fighting climate change but also in staying relevant as a company.

At this juncture, establishing a carbon neutral operation is well within reach given advances in power generation. Analogously, participating in a circular economy presents companies with greater long term operational efficiencies:

  • Designing the aircraft for ease of disassembly and recyclability within the capabilities of existing recycling infrastructure does not only increase the ability to reuse materials and, therefore, save money. It also will allow for easier maintainability and repairability of the aircraft and its subcomponents.
  • Recycling and reusing materials eliminates waste, results in decreased disposal costs, and results in a net reduction in material costs.
  • Determining eco-friendly material, and declaring them as standards, supports recycling and material reuse opportunities (along with increasing Wisk’s bargaining power with suppliers).

To address the above and additional sustainability considerations at Wisk, Director of Product Management Erick Corona and I launched a volunteer group, called “#TheSustainables” at the beginning of this year. 44 employees signed up and are currently working in 5 different sub-teams:

Team KPI — To determine the company’s carbon footprint and other sustainability KPI
Team Design — To develop Wisk’s sustainability design principles
Team Waste — To improve recycling solutions for all parts of the aircraft, wherever unavoidable with design principles
Team People — To ensure employee wellbeing & retention
Team Messaging — To foster Wisk’s sustainability message and culture company internal and with the general public

To summarize, taking Sustainability seriously, and participating in a circular supply chain, pays itself by increasing employee and customer engagement and retention, reducing risk by staying a step ahead of regulations, and by lowering costs due to increased efficiencies. Furthermore, as a company delivering an electric means of transportation, a carbon neutral service is a market expectation that must be met.

Learn more about Life at Wisk, including our Sustainability Group and other employee resource groups.