Brazilian rainforest to benefit from JetBlue decision to offset the GHG emissions from all flights during April
Thu 16 Apr 2015 – US carrier JetBlue is offsetting CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) for all its scheduled flights during the month of April. Calculated on the basis that it will burn around 57.1 million gallons of jet fuel, this amounts to around 500,000 tonnes of CO2e. The airline and its long-term carbon offset partner Carbonfund.org Foundation will purchase the equivalent offsets that will be used to protect a 400,000-acre (162,000ha) rainforest in Brazil. JetBlue is hoping the effort will encourage its customers to purchase carbon offsets in the future and in a further initiative, the city within its network whose members donate the most TrueBlue frequent flyer points to Carbonfund.org during the month of May will receive a new greenspace, such as a park or garden.
Offsets purchased by travellers booking with JetBlue are also used to fund renewable energy and carbon-reduction projects in and around cities served by the airline, dubbed BlueCities. In one such project, JetBlue is sponsoring the planting of 25,000 trees by the US Forest Service, which is expected to be completed by August 2015, following a fire that occurred in 2013 in the Angeles National forest in California.
Another is a landfill gas destruction project outside Salt Lake City, Utah, in which harmful methane is captured and converted into electricity. Help in funding this project has resulted following a decision to offset from last October the CO2e emissions for an entire year on all Airbus A321 flights between San Francisco and New York JFK.
“Within the bounds of what technology currently allows for, we are reducing our greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, Head of Sustainability at JetBlue. “As traditional fuel is still crucial to our operation, we won’t be able to completely eliminate them. However, we offset to lessen our impact. Protecting existing forests is a logical way to fund emission absorption and helps us all adapt to a changing climate.”
Over the past seven years of its partnership with Carbonfund.org, JetBlue says it has purchased offsets totalling over 158,000 tonnes of GHG emissions, including 16,329 tonnes in 2013 alone.
Commented Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org Foundation, which has over 2,000 business and non-profit partners: “With JetBlue’s support, we have 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.”
JetBlue also runs an annual campaign, called ‘One thing that’s green’, in which customers and crew members are encouraged to undertake one green initiative to reduce their carbon footprint. Nearly 3,000 crew members and community volunteers have planted more than 3,500 trees and cleaned nearly three tons of trash in cities including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Orlando.
In last year’s campaign, JetBlue’s Facebook customers in network cities were asked to vote on where the airline should build a new greenspace. Hartford, Conn. topped the list with 42,000 votes and will receive its greenspace on May 18.
“We are working to change our customers’ behaviour 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 CSR.