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How I see it – Grounded by Fear, Fueled by Opportunity: The Case for High-Speed Rail 

How I see it – Grounded by Fear, Fueled by Opportunity: The Case for High-Speed Rail 

High-Speed Rail
Listen to this story:

I used not to mind flying, but after 9/11, I was afraid. About 10 years into my professional life, I realized that avoiding flying was costing me opportunities to advance, so I made a financial and timing investment to overcome that fear. 

When the Boeing 737 Max 8’s crashed, I tried to avoid those specific planes, but then COVID hit, and we were all pretty much grounded. Since things have opened up, I still avoid those planes, but now a plug door in a 737 Max 9 blew out during a flight. 

Not good. 

There is much speculation as to what caused this, ranging from the reasonable supplier issues and a focus on financials to the Musk conspiratorial DEI focus. 

As a side note, Boeing’s DEI report is 23 pages, and Tesla’s People & Culture section in its 2022 Impact Report is 34 pages. Make of that and Tesla’s NHTSA safety investigations what you will

Putting my fear and speculation aside, Boeing’s issues here are a great ESG example of how interconnected risks in a supply chain work. Typically, B2B customers look to Scope 3 emissions as the ESG connection between supplier and customer. An airline purchasing planes cannot ignore the brewing Governance risks that are apparent at Boeing.  

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The FAA has ordered the grounding of about 171 planes worldwide while the plug doors can be inspected. For airlines, this represents capital investments that are sitting idle, not to mention canceled flights

There are a lot of redundant systems on planes, and it is a safe way to travel, despite being a metal tube hurtling through the air. Yet, when a plane manufacturer has issue after issue, one has to wonder what is happening from a Governance perspective. For their immediate stakeholders, airlines, this is a cautionary tale that erodes trust for downstream stakeholders, the fliers. 

While Boeing now has an opportunity to restore that trust, I’d like to offer a different Environmental solution and opportunity. High-speed rail, anyone? 

This article is contributed by Matthew Sekol. Every week ESG News delivers smart commentary from ESG practitioners and experts to unpack issues of the day. Submit an article for editorial consideration for the ESG Unpacked series here: [email protected]


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