Client

Air Canada

Year

2023-2024

Services

– Supply chain mapping

– Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

– Product development action plan for improved environmental performance

Orson Associates’ sustainable design expertise and decades of experience in the aircraft interior sector enabled us to deliver a detailed life cycle assessment (LCA) of key elements of Air Canada’s cabins.

 

Insights from this work inspired a range of design solutions that deliver environmental benefits and can be rapidly integrated into existing product lifecycles.

Challenge

Understanding the importance of cabins in advancing sustainability, Air Canada is on a quest to discover innovations that will deliver positive impact in the years to come.

Leading global airlines like Air Canada are responsible for the interiors of many aircraft types, composed of diverse sets of products with unique and complex supply chains. Air Canada select which products to install, manage years of use and maintenance, and choose what happens to them at end-of life.

 

Having identified a set of the most critical cabin products, our task was to map their life-cycles from cradle to grave and to discover where and how to intervene to minimise their environmental impacts.

26

Suppliers interviewed

Photo credit: Rohi Stoffe GmbH
35

Products investigated

179

Processes quantified

Photo credit: Rohi Stoffe GmbH

Solution

Decades of building industry connections and specialist knowledge allowed us to rapidly develop accurate, comprehensive and detailed life cycle models by gathering data from experts across the sector.

These models provide a clear and engaging depiction of every stage of the process, as well as embodying a wealth of data and insights from which to build high impact, cost effective design solutions.

 

Applying benchmark tools (Simapro and ecoinvent), we completed a cradle-to-grave LCA, aligned to ISO 14040:2006. The data generated expressed the cabins’ environmental impacts in a quantified, precise and substantiated form. Analysis of the life-cycle models also described precisely how each item generates its impact across a range of categories (Climate Change, Fossil Resource Scarcity, etc.).

Dresscover process flow

Outcomes

Air Canada’s quantified understanding of its cabins’ environmental impacts provides a firm baseline against which to assess future design and procurement decisions. And for the first time, enables sustainability performance to be managed going forward.

A ground-breaking project in an industry where environmental considerations have historically been limited to product weight, it places Air Canada at the forefront of the drive to embrace a holistic view of environmental sustainability, and will serve as an enabler and catalyst for improvements in future cabins.

 

The data-rich life cycle models identify the factors that contribute to impacts, including material qualities, rates of replacement and end-of-life challenges. Understanding these, it becomes possible to design tailored interventions to efficiently mitigate prioritised impacts. Our Action Plan provide Air Canada with proposals that can be enacted across procurement, design, maintenance and waste management.

 

Crucially, our close partnership with Air Canada’s internal teams throughout this project ensured they developed a deep understanding of their products’ life cycles as we progressed. Air Canada are now empowered by this new expertise to inform their decision-making in the years ahead.

How carpet flows from manufacturer to end-of-life and recycling
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