JetBlue commits to future regular use of aviation biofuels and joins sustainability standards body RSB
Fri 4 Mar 2016 – JetBlue has signalled its intention to use aviation biofuels in regular commercial operations in the future by joining the Roundtable on Sustainable Materials (RSB), becoming the first US airline to do so. The carrier believes biofuels are inevitable for the future of the aviation industry so it is now actively exploring the purchase of biofuel options for commercial use and plans “to develop a biofuel commitment” in 2017. JetBlue joins other aviation organisations that have backed the RSB standard to ensure biofuels are ethical, sustainable and credibly sourced. RSB members include Airbus, Boeing, IATA, SkyNRG and the airline coalition Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group, with South African Airways and Swiss as the only other airlines with direct membership. JetBlue has also announced it will partner with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to help fight illegal wildlife trade in the Caribbean.
“JetBlue is joining the RSB as renewable biofuels will become increasingly more important for aviation to grow responsibly,” said the airline’s Head of Sustainability, Sophia Mendelsohn. “There are no silver bullets when it comes to finding the right biofuel, so we are reaching out for partners – we are all in this together.”
The airline said that with RSB guidance, it would join airlines and other stakeholders in pursuing multiple sources of biofuels that minimised unwanted environmental and social impacts throughout their supply chain and lifecycle.
“RSB is the world’s strongest standard for sustainable biofuels,” said its Executive Director, Rolf Hogan. “We look forward to seeing other airlines follow JetBlue’s commitment and leadership by becoming members of RSB.”
New York-based JetBlue points out that it was the only airline to sign the White House’s 2015 American Business Act on Climate Pledge that supports an international climate agreement and has also committed to reduce global emissions from commercial air travel in partnership with aircraft and engine manufacturers, the FAA and others.
Steps to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions include fitting Sharklet wingtips to its Airbus aircraft and other technology investments totalling $50 million to support more efficient operations that are expected to save over 500,000 gallons of fuel burn per year. To address emissions from its flights, the airline encourages both passengers and crewmembers to offset their emissions when they fly.
JetBlue and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) launched their new five-year partnership yesterday, World Wildlife Day, with a customer education and awareness campaign and say they will work together beyond an initial inflight video to develop online content, social media campaigns and strategies to reduce demand for illegal wildlife. Seat-back TVs on all JetBlue flights will inform passengers about responsible travel and shopping practices in the Caribbean.
“Tourism brings in 22 million visitors a year to the Caribbean. Degradation of wildlife and biodiversity is a risk to demand for air travel to the region, thus impacting JetBlue,” said Mendelsohn. “We’ve joined with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create a large-scale dialogue and action highlighting the numerous ways to travel, eat and shop in the Caribbean, leaving the region stable for future tourism.”
An increase in the illegal wildlife trade in the region is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of animal species such as sea turtles, parrots, iguanas and coral.
“The Caribbean is considered to be a wildlife trafficking hotspot,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe. “We are thrilled to work with JetBlue to empower travellers and Caribbean residents to reduce demand for illegal wildlife. We are committed to protecting these special places and species, and with the public as our partners, we can support conservation worldwide by asking questions and learning the facts before buying any wildlife or plant product.”