Assessing the Correlation Between Environmental Awareness and Variability of Employees' Positions in Aviation and Aerospace Industries

Assessing the Correlation Between Environmental Awareness and Variability of Employees' Positions in Aviation and Aerospace Industries

Eva Maleviti (Hellenic Aerospace Industry, Athens, Greece) and Evangelos Stamoulis (Hellenic Air Force, Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJASOT.2016010102
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The purpose of this study is to assess the awareness and attitudes of employees in Aviation and aerospace industries. This paper belongs to a wider research project, on environmental management in aviation and aerospace industries. The main scope of this research is to evaluate the level of environmental awareness and the adoption of environmental management practices. The present descriptive study was carried-out at Greece, collecting a sample in a global level. The opinion of people employed in aviation industry is considered, based on the versatility of their working positions. Up to this stage, 330 respondents have participated globally in the current research. This study uses a questionnaire survey to gain an understanding of the views and attitudes of aerospace staff toward environmental management. The results demonstrate that the level of environmental awareness is immediately linked with the employees' positions.
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The impact of businesses on the environment has become an issue of increasing concern since early 90’s. This concern is shared by environmental groups and legislators, customers, local communities, public authorities, suppliers, financial institutions, and employees (Gadenne et al., 2009). Consequently, there has been increasing pressure for owner/ managers to improve their environmental management activities and practices (Allen,, 2002; Chen, 2012). Environmental awareness is one of the main pillars of the promotion of environmental management and practices. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the mean to increase environmental awareness in any type of corporation. CSR aims to promote sustainability, including not only the companies’ policies that are set, but also, considering the employees’ practices through their working tasks. Aviation and aerospace industries aim to promote environmental management, however, the level of effort in engaging their employees is quite primitive. Large corporations, such as Airbus, Boeing, or some airlines such as US Continental, and others, have done considerable steps in promoting environmental practices, but only within their operations. The policy framework itself, even if it is supporting environmental management practices, still it does not provide a mandatory framework to engage the staff working in aviation and aerospace industries. Namely, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), recognizing the environmental impact of aviation and aerospace industries, has developed a range of standards, policies and guidance material for the application of integrated measures, aiming to address aircraft noise and engine emissions, embracing improvements, operating procedures, proper organization of air traffic, appropriate airport and land-use planning, and the use of market-based options (ICAO, 2011; ICAO, 2012). In respect of environmental practices, in 2004, ICAO developed three major environmental goals; firstly to reduce the number of people affected by significant aircraft noise. Secondly to limit or decrease the impact of aviation emissions on local air quality; and finally to limit or reduce the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate (Waltz et al., 2004; Chen, 2012).

On the other hand, currently, businesses and organizations are implementing Environmental Management Systems as strategic tools to gain a competitive advantage within the market, complying at the same time with the current environmental legislation, without having however, a compulsory role in the whole industry.

In a parallel way, in terms of environmental management practices, the ISO standards 14000 family, the international standards for managing the environmental responsibilities, are becoming widely spread in aviation and aerospace industries, but still not in a mandatory level. As of ISO 9000 Quality Management Standards (QMS), similarly the ISO 14000 family consists of 20 environmental standards characterized as non-compulsory and process-based. The ISO 14000 family includes various environmental issues concerning inclusion of environmental standards in product design, specific standards and testing methods to deal with particular environmental challenges, according to the product design and services, carbon footprint evaluation, life-cycle assessment etc. In any organization, the development of an environmental management system includes adoption of the current policy, planning, implementation and operation, checking, and corrective actions, and management review (ISO 2015). A certification process of ISO 14001 which sets out the criteria for an environmental management is a quite demanding, time and cost- consuming process, thus, it is very important for an organization to be fully committed to this process in order to manage its environmental responsibilities. Under that scope it is essential the engagement of all staff to be achieved (ISO 2015).

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