Despite being in the midst of winter, JetBlue is already preparing for this summer’s travel rush with an environmentally impactful announcement that the airline will be going carbon neutral on all domestic flights beginning in July. JetBlue is the latest major company to announce a move toward a lighter eco-footprint, appealing to consumers with increasing knowledge about the dangers of climate change.
“Air travel connects people and cultures, and supports a global economy, yet we must act to limit this critical industry’s contributions to climate change,” said Robin Hayes, Chief Executive Officer of JetBlue. “We reduce where we can and offset where we can’t. By offsetting all of our domestic flying, we’re preparing our business for the lower-carbon economy that aviation – and all sectors – must plan for.”
What Is Carbon Offsetting Or Going “Carbon Neutral?”
One carbon offset is equal to the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of emissions. To be carbon neutral means a business or individual has offset their entire carbon footprint to the best of their ability, which is achieved by reducing their carbon footprint when possible and buying carbon offsets or credits that fund emission reduction projects. Emission reduction initiatives may include forest conservation projects, landfill gas capture (LFG) and investments in solar or wind farms. Emission reduction projects work by promoting renewable resources and circumventing greenhouse gas emissions, removing emissions from the atmosphere and getting rid of emissions altogether when possible.
How Is JetBlue Going Carbon Neutral?
Since 2008, JetBlue has had carbon offset programs for certain times of the year, amounting to 2.6 billion pounds of offset carbon emissions. The airline is anticipating that, within a year, their new carbon neutral initiative “will offset an additional 15-17 billion pounds of emissions — the equivalent of removing over 1.5 million passenger vehicles from the road annually.”
JetBlue will continue working with Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit carbon reduction and climate solutions organization, for the airline’s new initiative. JetBlue plans to invest in projects that “will offset the use of jet fuel,” primarily in developing countries where the projects have a more significant impact on the community. JetBlue will also be making fuel and technological changes that lessen emissions and increase fuel economy.
What Are Other Companies In The Travel Sector Doing To Reduce Carbon Emissions?
The ethics of traveling, considering the impact it has on climate change, has been in the news throughout the last several years, with debates about the benefits of travel overall versus the significant detriment air travel causes to the environment. “Airlines, for all intents and purposes, are becoming more fuel efficient. But we’re seeing demand outstrip any of that [efficiency],” said Brandon Graver, a researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation to The New York Times. “The climate challenge for aviation is worse than anyone expected.”
Many airlines are stepping up to try and mitigate the impact of air travel, including EasyJet, United Airlines and Delta. Like JetBlue, EasyJet is carbon off-setting their flights. Since November 2019, nine million customers have taken net-zero carbon flights with EasyJet.
United Airlines Eco-Skies® CarbonChoice carbon offset sponsorship program works with corporations to calculate their emissions and then donate the corresponding amount to Conservation International which invests in carbon reduction projects.
Delta offers an offset program that calculates the amount of emissions used, directly connects flyers with carbon emissions projects and lets flyers pay for their carbon credits immediately. Delta’s carbon offset program is open to anyone, not just Delta flyers, and is a quick, easy way for flyers to neutralize their travel.
Amtrak has partnered with Carbonfund.org to help train travelers easily offset their carbon emissions. After calculating their carbon footprints based on mileage, rail passengers can choose to purchase their appropriate carbon-neutral investments.
What Is The Benefit Of Carbon Neutral Promises To Travel Brands?
Millennials and Gen Z are notorious for shopping with brands that share their values, and younger generations are particularly concerned about climate change. For brands that want to court this influential buying sector, purposeful, authentic action that makes a meaningful impact will resonate with younger generations and all travelers who want to see the world and save the earth.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Sarah Cavill