Overall investment in environmental initiatives by the European aeronautical sector is low, in particular in comparison with the United States. Fewer than four percent of ISO 14001 certified companies are from the aeronautical sector, which numbers 100 000 businesses in Europe.
The application of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) has been handicapped by the limited nature of most schemes, which are ill-suited to the full life-cycle of a product such as an aircraft. A more integrated approach is needed to effectively support the forecast growth of various industrial sectors in the air transport industry.
The project sought to develop an extended product and site-oriented environmental management system, which would be fully compliant with ISO 14001 standards, and would also address the current requirements of EMAS (the EU’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme), especially in relation to reporting aspects.
The beneficiary (Airbus) and partners (SBAC, GIFAS, ATECMA - the respective British, French and Spanish national aerospace trade associations - together with EADS, the European aerospace company, and the Midi-Pyrenees Chamber of Commerce and Industry) would act as pilot cases with the end result of allowing the beneficiary to apply for EMAS registration.
The ACADEMY project – thanks to its wide-ranging and complementary partnerships –clearly demonstrated through large-scale pilot experiments a broadening of the scope of the EMS to integrate product-related activities and a life-cycle dimension. This new approach, known by its acronym, SPOEMS (Site and Product Oriented Environmental Management System), was established in several steps. In a preliminary phase the sector gained knowledge of ways of developing integrated EMS at six European sites. This approach was extended to product-related aspects and was then tested at all 16 Airbus sites in the EU. A streamlined life-cycle assessment was established and applied to two specific aircraft programmes (A340 and A380).
Nine guidelines were produced and will be used to further disseminate this approach both within the aerospace sector and to other industries. A first for the aviation industry, this system has enabled Airbus to be awarded ISO 14001 certification for full lifecycle history at all its European sites and product-related activities.
EMAS certification is now also possible as a further step.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan.
This project has been selected as one of the 17 Best LIFE Environment projects in 2008-2009.