Carbon Offsets

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’s Commitment to Protecting Fiji’s Natural Environment

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.