Virgin America made history in 2009 by becoming the first American airline to commit to reporting its greenhouse gas emissions. The California-based airline announced its decision to join the Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to standardizing the accurate measurement and reporting of carbon emissions, joining a diverse group of environmentally conscious organizations that now total over 300. Overseen by a board of directors comprising a number of North American states and provinces, the Climate Registry collects greenhouse gas emissions data from its member organizations on a yearly basis, holding each to the same comprehensive and transparent reporting standards.
As the only airline based in California, Virgin America took a natural interest in weaving sustainable practices into the heart of its business operations, noted David Pflieger, then Virgin America’s senior vice president of legal, government affairs, and sustainability. Previously, Dave Pflieger guided Virgin America to become a pioneer of sustainability in October 2008, when the passenger airline became the first in its sector to take part in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders initiative. Due to its more recent commitment to the Climate Registry, the airline bolstered its sustainability efforts by agreeing to provide more extensive emissions reports that reflect adherence to the registry’s heightened guidelines.
The strict monitoring and transparent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions is just one of many sustainable initiatives adopted by Virgin America, which has operated with a commitment to environmental sustainability since its inception in 2007. In addition to emissions-reducing innovations such as single engine taxing, cost index flying, and advanced avionics, the carrier introduced a new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft boasting 25 percent more C02 efficiency than comparable fleets.