This week, JetBlue Airways announced it is once again partnering with the Carbonfund.org Foundation to offset the carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (CO2e) generated by all scheduled flights from April 1 to April 30, in honor of Earth Month. Now in its eighth year, this partnership has allowed travelers to offset part of the carbon footprint from their flights by making a donation to support carbon-reduction projects. To date, JetBlue says it has purchased offsets totaling more than 350 million pounds (158,000 metric tons) of CO2 and CO2e emissions.
“Within the bounds of what technology currently allows for, we are reducing our greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible. As traditional jet fuel is still crucial to our operation, we won’t be able to completely eliminate them. However, we offset to lessen our impact,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability at JetBlue. “Protecting existing forests is a logical way to fund emission absorption and helps us all adapt to a changing climate.”
JetBlue, and its customers who voluntarily offset CO2 emissions, help fund technology and forestry projects designed to help reduce the environmental impact of aircraft and prevent harmful greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, through processes administered by Carbonfund.org. Offsetting all scheduled flights in April for its customers will allow JetBlue to reduce the carbon impact of 500,000 metric tons of CO2e or 57.1 million gallons of jet fuel. JetBlue will purchase the equivalent offsets, which will be used to protect a 400,000-acre rainforest in Brazil. This protection will in turn generate several million carbon offsets over the next few years.
“With JetBlue’s support, Carbonfund.org has been able to develop several forest conservation projects that are protecting nearly one million acres of threatened tropical rainforest, while simultaneously helping local communities and preserving areas with some of the highest levels of biodiversity,” said Eric Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org Foundation.
“We are working to change our customers’ behavior when purchasing flights. As an airline, we are always considering our environmental impact. As we work to lessen our footprint, we are encouraging our customers to also take action to lessen their impact,” said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue’s director of CSR. “Through our partnership with Carbonfund.org Foundation, we are able to fund renewable energy and carbon-reduction projects throughout our network.”
During the eight-year partnership, JetBlue has worked with a variety of community partners across its network to help create a healthier planet and reduce its impact. Since October 2014, JetBlue, in partnership with Carbonfund.org Foundation, offset CO2e emissions for an entire year on all flights between San Francisco and New York’s JFK Airport. Those offsets are already being put to good use in Utah, where more than 2,500 crewmembers live and work. JetBlue is supporting a methane capture landfill in Salt Lake City that will reuse CO2 emissions to power homes in the area.
This year, JetBlue is also encouraging a friendly rivalry between cities within its network. The airline is purchasing offsets for scheduled flights for the month of April to help raise awareness and is encouraging customers and TrueBlue members to purchase offsets for future travel. To help encourage this effort, the city whose TrueBlue members donate the most TrueBlue points to CarbonFund.org during the month of May will receive a new greenspace, such as a park or garden. The winning BlueCity will be announced in June 2015.
This week, JetBlue also kicked off its eighth annual “One Thing That’s Green” initiative, which encourages the airline’s customers and crewmembers to undertake one green initiative in their daily lives to reduce their carbon footprint. As part of the initiative, nearly 3,000 JetBlue crewmembers and community volunteers have planted more than 3,500 trees and cleaned nearly three tons of trash in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida.
Last year, JetBlue’s annual “One Thing That’s Green” campaign included a sweepstakes wherein JetBlue’s network cities were asked to vote on Facebook where the company should build a new greenspace. Hartford, Conn. topped the list with 42,000 votes and will receive its new greenspace on May 18, 2015 as crewmembers and community members join together to revitalize Heaven Skate Park with the City of Hartford and Knox Parks.
In other JetBlue news, last month the airline launched its first business mentoring program, called BlueBud (buddies + budding new companies), which will offer small and startup responsible food companies an opportunity to get their businesses off the ground (pun intended) and their products onboard commercial aircraft. And in December, JetBlue and The Ocean Foundation released a first-of-its-kind report correlating the health of the airline’s bottom line with the long-term health of ecosystems – in this case, the Caribbean, one of JetBlue’s most popular destinations.