Introducing STARS: Web Manuals pioneers a more sustainable future of aviation

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Introducing STARS: Web Manuals pioneers a more sustainable future of aviation

Sustainability has fast become a major talking point amongst global corporations, with more and more organizations committing to reach net zero by 2050. But what first comes to mind when you think of sustainability? It could be electric vehicles, renewable energy sources or simply just recycling. Either way, it’s likely that your mind wonders towards environmental responsibility – the most commonly discussed dimension.

By definition, sustainability is made up of three elements – environmental, social and financial sustainability. In fact, businesses have historically focused their efforts on the longevity of their finances, meaning that critical environmental and social initiatives tend to be outweighed by incentives that maximize profits and restore company balance sheets.

At Web Manuals, we recognize our responsibility to the environment and community. Our paperless manuals reduce unnecessary waste and support the industrial shift towards complete digitization. Yet, this is only a small part of our ethos. Our 1-2-3-Forward social impact program offers our employees two paid days for volunteering and offers discounts to humanitarian and non-profit organizations within the aviation industry. Furthermore, in the Web Manuals Foundation, which owns 3% of Web Manuals International, we work to empower girls and young women in low- and lower-middle income countries through education and entrepreneurship.

More than this, social impact champion and driver of the program, Angel Nikolov, recently volunteered within a group of young leaders, powered by the EBAA and its membership, to form the STARS initiative – standards and training for aviation responsibility and sustainability. Having launched at EBACE this year, STARS is well placed to encourage companies in business aviation to consider all elements of sustainability.

What is STARS?

Available as a standalone standard and falling under existing International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) standards – the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operators (IS-BAO) and the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) – the STARS initiative is a new regulated standard for business aviation operators. The aim is to ensure that businesses have effective environmental and social sustainability practices within their operations.

Made up of three tiers, each stage consists of a checklist of policies and standards, and it’s only once all factors have been audited and confirmed can an operator or ground handler or other service provider within business aviation move their way up through the tiers.

Tier 1 represents the most basic environmental and social practices, such as waste management and employee diversity and inclusion and provides companies with the right processes for further development. Moving through the tiers, Tier 3 introduces strict requirements and policies on areas such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and electric aircraft vehicles, as well as even more effective waste management policies, and stringent levels of diversity and inclusion, and social impact.

Once authorized, businesses will be awarded a certificate that states which category they fall into. As the standard begins to gain greater momentum, customers will begin to recognize the different levels and what they stand for, opting for those companies with a certified STARS status. Simultaneously, businesses will start to understand the importance of environmental and social responsibility, recognizing how these elements can positively influence company finances and the long-term impact on the environment and communities around us. 

A new future?

Currently in its pilot phase, six operators from across Europe have volunteered to implement the new standards, including business jet company, FLYINGGROUP.

Sus Dierckx at FLYINGGROUP, says: “As the biggest business jet company in Benelux, we want to pave the way to a greener future. There’s no doubt that business aviation hasn’t had the best reputation when it comes to sustainability, however I believe that STARS has potential to change the narrative and shift customers’ perception of our industry.

“The clearly stated standards have allowed us to review our policies and provided the guideline towards a better future for business aviation.”

Angel Nikolov, social impact champion and coordinator to FLYINGGROUP in the pilot phase, also shares his experience: “To have helped draft the standards alongside some of the world’s most talented and innovative young leaders within business aviation has been incredibly exciting. My current involvement as coordinator to FLYINGGROUP will allow time to review the quality of tier 1 and feedback any necessary changes required ahead of finalization.

Once finalized, our volunteer group will be handing the reins over to IBAC, who will manage the auditing of STARS. Though this will end my involvement, Web Manuals will continue to support operators and ground handlers through our automated compliance monitoring that will include STARS under existing IS-BAO and IS-BAH standards. We want to continue encouraging our customers to look towards a greener and more socially responsible future.”

STARS has the potential to considerably influence how aviation companies manage their sustainability, with more than 600 operators and ground handlers worldwide currently certified with the safety standards awarded by IBAC. With opportunities to evolve overtime, STARS could have ground-breaking effects on, not just our sector, but earth as a whole.

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