Recently declared the world’s most eco-friendly airline, Virgin America is continuously making efforts to reduce its carbon footprint while also encouraging passengers to join in. Virgin America is committed to company-wide change and has taken several steps to heighten its green initiatives, including introducing new eco-efficient aircrafts, buying office energy from renewable resources, and providing means for customers to purchase carbon offsets that reduce personal use of fossil fuels.
Not content to rest with their carbon neutrality efforts, Virgin America and the rest of the Virgin Group, founded by Sir Richard Branson, are actively seeking new ways to improve their environmental impact. In 2008, the company tested an aircraft that utilized biofuel harvested from coconuts. Currently, Virgin Atlantic, the European arm of the Virgin Air Group, is lobbying for continent-wide reduction of airplane emissions by creating a one-sky partnership between airlines. This effort is designed to cut down the number of European flights by trading open seats between different companies, ensuring that all seats are booked per flight and lowering travel redundancy and wasted fuel for partially filled planes.
About the Author: David Pflieger, former Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs, General Counsel, at Virgin America and now CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific, was instrumental in many aspects of Virgin America’s environmental initiatives, including providing the Climate Registry with the company’s greenhouse gas emissions statistics.
Air Pacific, soon to return to its original name of Fiji Airways, recently partnered with the Mamanuca Environment Society of Fiji to support the organization’s ongoing efforts to preserve the islands’ natural beauty. With an annual contribution of $20,000F, Air Pacific is dedicated to protecting the global environment and caring for its Fijian home.
The Mamanuca Environment Society is the largest environmental study and protection group in Fiji. Actively monitoring the conditions of flora and fauna on the islands and in the surrounding sea, the society takes responsibility for cleaning up environmentally hazardous conditions and safeguarding the well-being of endangered species. Additionally, the Mamanuca Environment Society is deeply committed to educating the public on environmental issues and showing how each individual can help protect Fiji. Members of the society regularly visit schools to discuss preservation with children and recently trained several local resort staffs on how to teach reef preservation and awareness to tourists, both to engage them in preservation efforts and to deter potentially harmful behavior.
About the Author: David Pflieger, Managing Director and CEO of Air Pacific, has actively worked toward environmental responsibility in the airline industry. During his tenure as Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs, General Counsel, with Virgin America, David Pflieger was responsible for introducing numerous programs to increase the efficient and responsible use of natural resources.
By David Pflieger
Virgin America, an offshoot of Virgin Atlantic, is the first airline in the United States to offer passengers the opportunity to offset the environmental impact of their travels. Through carbonfund.org, individuals and businesses can donate to projects that have been verified as reducing the carbon footprint of human activity through expansion of alternative energy sources, reforestation, and other efforts.
“Carbon Offsets” is an industry term that describes an exchange unit for carbon-dioxide emissions. While many manufacturing and transportation companies are assigned a limit to the amount of greenhouse gases they may emit, participating in and funding certain environmental projects can help them earn credits for emissions they produce over their maximum value. This ensures compliance by offsetting their overall impact. Many companies now purchase these credits as part of their normal operating costs.
Carbonfund.org, however, retires carbon offset credits purchased by donors. This retirement ensures that the credits will not be used to increase the volume of industrial-waste output. For passengers of Virgin America, connecting with carbonfund.org allows the environmentally conscious to work towards an overall goal of carbon neutrality by buying carbon offsets and balancing their personal pollution responsibilities.
About the Author: David Pflieger is Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Air Pacific and its subsidiary, Pacific Sun. With Air Pacific, David Pflieger continues to implement the green initiatives he helped found as part of Virgin America.
Air Pacific, Fiji’s national airline, recently announced that it will be supporting the work of the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES), a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and preserving the beautiful Mamanuca Islands lying to the west of Nadi in Fiji. The airline will be contributing $20,000 annually to MES.
The MES is involved in both on-the-ground cleanup and restoration efforts on the islands, and in educational outreach in Fiji’s schools and communities. It monitors the health of the many coral reefs surrounding the islands, oversees a program to protect beaches where sea turtles nest, and works to gather baseline data to analyze water quality and identify pollution sources. Field excursions, guest lecture programs, and community meetings are all part of MES’ outreach efforts to raise awareness of the issues that affect the islands’ ecosystems.
In a release announcing the partnership between Air Pacific and MES, the airline’s CEO and Managing Director David Pflieger emphasized the importance of environmental stewardship to the company.
“We all have a stake in preserving Fiji’s pristine beauty, and we are pleased to support the important work the Mamanuca Environment Society is doing in this regard,” Mr. Pflieger said.
For more information on the Mamanuca Environment Society’s projects, see mesfiji.org.