November 10 2020  |  Amenities & Comfort

Driving change with FORMIA

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX International's October 2020 digital edition.

As the first part of its sustainability strategy, FORMIA will move to using recycled PET for 100 percent of its fabrics used for socks and eye masks

While discussions about passenger experience seem to be brimming with ideas on physical distancing in the cabin, low-touch food solutions and personal protective gear, suppliers are still finding ways to achieve their pre-pandemic goals despite the circumstances. With the help of external experts and consultants, onboard amenity provider FORMIA is maintaining its focus on sustainability with the launch of a new strategy meant to benefit the environment, its customers and the passenger experience.

“Sustainability is not just a trend, it is here to stay,” says Roland Grohman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Partner. “FORMIA is in the process of integrating it into its ongoing business strategy, its operations and its DNA.”

Headquartered in Hong Kong, the company’s goal is to become circular in nature, from the raw materials used to the thoughtful design, brand partners, distributers and mindful end-of-life product considerations. FORMIA has enlisted sustainability research firm GlobeScan to undertake a Materiality Anaylsis to help better understand how key stakeholders perceive FORMIA – and to learn what they see as the main issues to focus on in the near future.

“A detailed landscape anaylsis as well as in-depth interviews were conducted,” says Grohman. “The findings serve as the basis for the new sustainable strategic framework and the ensuing activities as well as future products and services.”

FORMIA has also introduced sustainable packaging for its Clean Kit range

The strategy will be implemented in phases, beginning in Spring 2021. The first initiative to launch will see 100 percent of the fabric used for socks and eye masks being replaced by RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). To get customers excited, FORMIA is absorbing the extra cost of the material, rendering the move to RPET fabric cost-neutral for airlines – a benefit for supporting its sustainability efforts.

The transition from virgin polyester to recycled PET will save 1,500 tons of plastic waste from going to landfill each year, information based on FORMIA’s 2019 volumes of these products. “This is equivalent to 79 million bottles,” Grohman adds. In addition, according to the 2018 report by the Association of Plastic Recyclers, re-used plastic reduces energy consumption by 79 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 67 percent, compared to using virgin PET.

“As FORMIA continues to review its end-to-end processes and identifies where improvements and transformation can be made, further progress will be shared,” says Grohman. “Including development of CST programs, as part of its wider sustainability strategy, with charity partners in both local and international communities.”

“We have been working hard to put the health and safety of travelers front and foremost, whilst also acknowledging that there is a huge effort needed to respond to the global climate crisis,” said Grohman, in the October press release. “It is important for us to support our airline partners as they navigate their sustainability efforts during what is an exceedingly difficult time. Today’s announcement is the first step on our path to sustainability and we look forward to sharing further plans very soon.”

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