Archive for April, 2015
For Earth Month United Airlines is Supporting the Restoration of the Mississippi River Valley through Carbon Offsets
The rich, alluvial soils of the Mississippi River Valley have made it the country’s most fertile agricultural region. While the valley was covered in 25 million acres of forestland until World War II — providing a habitat for cougars, black bear, bison, red fox and of course, waterfowl — industrial farming has led to widespread deforestation and today the forestland has dwindled to just five million acres.
Through Sustainable Travel International Partnership United Airlines Eco-Skies Passengers Fly Carbon Neutral During Earth MonthCHICAGO, April 14, 2015 — In honor of Earth Month, United Airlines customers traveling aboard the company’s signature Eco-Skies aircraft in April will be flying carbon neutral. Through United’s Eco-Skies CarbonChoice program, the airline is obtaining carbon offsets for all passengers and crew on every flight of the specially painted 737-900ER – aircraft #432. The Eco-Skies aircraft is also retrofitted with fuel-efficient Split Scimitar winglets, which reduce fuel consumption by up to an additional two percent over traditional winglets. Carbon offsets alleviate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing emissions from other sources.
United’s Eco-Skies 737-900ER aircraft. To download a high-res image, click here.
In collaboration with Sustainable Travel International, a non-profit organization and long-time United partner, the CarbonChoice offsets from the airline’s Eco-Skies plane are third-party verified to internationally recognized standards and will support GreenTrees’ Advanced Carbon Restored Ecosystem (ACRE) project along the Mississippi River Valley. To date, GreenTrees and its landowners have planted over 36 million trees on nearly 100,000 acres along the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. United’s support will allow GreenTrees to accelerate its success in emission reductions from 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to entirely new levels of conservation impact.
“Our Eco-Skies plane represents United’s strong commitment to the environment, and we’re proud of the work we do to be an environmentally responsible airline and reduce our emissions, not just in the month of April, but all year around,” said the airline’s Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Angela Foster-Rice.
Customers can purchase CarbonChoice offsets for travel when checking in at united.com or any time before or after a flight, and MileagePlus members can also utilize miles to purchase offsets, both by visiting united.com/carbonchoice. In addition, United’s corporate sales and cargo customers now have the ability to purchase a complete carbon-neutral travel option for all flights on United. For more information on this enterprise-level solution, please visit united.com/carbonchoice.
Along with its robust carbon-offset program, United has further demonstrated leadership in environmental sustainability by establishing several ambitious initiatives and programs. United’s recent achievements include:
- United is a leader in the advancement and use of sustainable aviation biofuel, making history in commercial aviation with its partnership with AltAir Fuels to bring commercial-scale, cost-competitive renewable jet fuel to its Los Angeles hub this year and was awarded in 2015 by the World Bio Markets for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels for this program.
- The company in early 2014 became the first airline in the world to fly with the split scimitar winglet technology that cuts fuel consumption by up to an additional 2 percent over the airline’s existing fuel-saving winglet technology.
- The company in 2014 reduced CO2 emissions by more than 1 million metric tons and reduced fuel consumption by more than 110 million gallons through fuel efficiency, equal to removing more than 225,000 cars from the road.
- The airline increased orders for new Boeing and Airbus aircraft that are 15 to 20 percent more fuel efficient than those they will replace, and now has more than 260 of these new, fuel-efficient aircraft on order.
- United Eco-Skies continues to partner and provide sustainable travel options to our customers, most recently with the introduction of Eco-Skies Vacation packages available on unitedvacations.com.
- United Eco-Skies is partnering with Smithsonian.com to encourage and recognize sustainable travelers who demonstrate leadership and an active commitment to travel for environmentally responsible purposes, generating positive social, economic, or environmental outcomes in the local communities visited. Photographers can submit their pictures in the Sustainable Travel category, made possible through the support of United Eco-Skies, by visitinghttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/tags/sustainable-travel/?no-ist.
- The company’s Eco-Skies Community Grants program encourages United employees who volunteer their time and efforts to environmental organizations in their communities. To date, United has awarded nearly $100,000 to environmental organizations.
This week at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit 2015 in Madrid, Sustainable Travel International announced 10 Million Better, an industry-wide campaign to monitor and scale up social, economic and environmental benefits from travel and tourism, with the goal of demonstrating tangible improvements in the lives of at least 10 million people by 2025.
AT WTTC Summit, Sustainable Travel International Announces Campaign to Rally the Travel and Tourism Industry Around Monitoring, Demonstrating and Scaling Up Benefits[Madrid, Spain – April 14, 2015] At the World Travel & Tourism Council 2015 Global Summit in Madrid today, the NGO Sustainable Travel International unveiled an industry-wide campaign entitled 10 Million Better to monitor and scale up social and environmental benefits from travel and tourism.
The ten-year initiative convenes leading tourism corporations, organizations and destinations around the globe with the goal of tracking and demonstrating improvements in the lives of at least 10 million people and their families by 2025. Improvements to be monitored include growth of income and opportunity, and better protection of destinations’ natural, cultural and heritage sites.
Sustainable Travel International announced the 10 Million Better campaign in a joint presentation today at WTTC’s “Tourism for Tomorrow” awards event, entitled “Tourism for Tomorrow, Today: Launching the Next Decade’s Worth of Positive Impacts Starting Now.” It featured Dr. Louise Twining-Ward, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, Brian Mullis, Chairman of the Board and Founder of Sustainable Travel International, and Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President Responsible Business at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. She is among the industry leaders serving as a campaign ambassador.
Other trend-setting ambassadors to the campaign include representatives of such leading travel companies as Delaware North, Intrepid Travel, and the Soneva Group. The campaign is also endorsed by Sustainable Travel Leadership Network and Sustainable Destination Leadership Network, two Sustainable Travel International-convened collaborations which represent leading brands committed to advancing the industry’s sustainability efforts, including Globus, Finnair, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ltd., United Airlines and others.
“Collectively, our industry has the power to influence the protection of the environment, promotion of economic equality and preservation of the social well-being and cultural traditions of communities around the globe,” said Jerry Jacobs, Jr., Co-CEO of the global hospitality and entertainment group Delaware North Companies, Inc. “Not only do we believe that acting responsibly on behalf of the environment and communities is the right way forward, from our perspective it’s the only way forward. We’re wholly committed to ensuring travel and tourism continues to do better by our world.”
“There is a new readiness and urgency to act together,” said Sustainable Travel International’s Twining-Ward. “For the first time the tourism sector has a UN Mandate to act. A big shift is now needed towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. The time is now for the industry to come together with a clear vision and focus its enormous economic power on solid goals and metrics for improving lives.”
“Sustainability in global tourism is achievable, but not if we work in silos,” said Ingunn Sornes, senior adviser to Innovation Norway, which helps to ensure Norway’s destinations are viable for the long-term through its Sustainable Destinations program. “We must work together to improve our collective performance, which is why this campaign is so important. Sustainable Travel International has helped us to develop sustainability management tools and metrics, and we’ve seen the difference they made to the health of our own tourism sector. Ensuring that such tools (and experiences) are widely available and accessible would do the same for destinations and businesses around the world.”
Travel and tourism is the world’s leading economic driver, representing 9.5% of the global economy and generating 1.1 billion arrivals last year and 1 out of 11 jobs worldwide. It’s poised for explosive growth over the next decade, and represents vast resources for improving lives and generating livelihoods globally while protecting places and the planet.
Sustainable travel and tourism are growing especially fast, but so are the industry’s energy, water, land and food use and its environmental, climate and social impacts. As a result, the business imperative to tackle sustainability issues and the stakes of sustainability-related risks are intense.
Adverse impacts from unmanaged growth can include overcrowding, pollution, biodiversity loss, cultural homogenization and increased economic inequality. But if properly planned and responsibly executed, tourism can also powerfully incentivize protection of natural and cultural resources and enable destinations to prosper.
“Non-sustainable tourism won’t continue to exist,” said Dr. Edward (Ted) Manning, advisor to Sustainable Travel International, President of Tourisk, Inc., and lead architect in the development of the UNWTO program on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism. “If you allow your natural and human capital to decline over time, you will not be able to stay in business. Earlier iterations of sustainability indicators were about sensitizing destinations to their impacts. Today it’s about managing key risks and surviving.”
The UNWTO identifies destination monitoring as a key element of sustainable tourism management. It helps to both manage business risk and to protect the environmental, economic and social fabric of destinations. But like other industries working to integrate sustainability goals, travel and tourism has lacked adequate tools to track its impacts reliably, measure and communicate progress in an accountable way, and realize tourism’s larger potential for positive change.
The new campaign aims to change that, in part by creating and distributing an accessible, open-source impact monitoring tool which companies and destinations can help develop. It is designed to overcome existing barriers to monitoring and reporting, and balance data relevance with technical feasibility and financial viability.
“Organizations need to graduate from simply reporting their investments in sustainable or ethical practices to tracking their actual impacts on environmental quality, livelihoods, education and training, well being, and so forth” said Nick Desolino, member of Sustainable Travel International’s Board and an Energy & Sustainability Adviser at KPMG in the UK. “But they need objective tools to quantify and report on them. Sustainable Travel International is helping to provide those tools, beginning to aggregate the data and engaging the industry in the common cause of using it to leverage the good we can do together.”
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Contacts: On-site in Madrid: Brian Mullis, founder and chair, Sustainable Travel International, [email protected], +720-273-2975
In New York: Carol Goodstein, [email protected], +845-353-7620, Stephen Kent, KentCom LLC, [email protected] +914-589-5988