Southwest Announces New “Green Plane”

SW plane Truly sustainable planes with alternative fuel or higher efficiency may still be many, many miles away, but Southwest seems to be have introduced a quick layover with yesterday’s debut of their “Green Plane.”

The greening of the plane is based mostly on eco-friendly interior materials, from InterfaceFLOR carpeting to new lightweight, leather-like leather alternatives for their seats, to a more environmentally-friendly life vest pouch!

According to Reuters, all of the initiatives being tested on this Green Plane combine to a add up to a weight savings of almost five pounds per seat, thus saving fuel and reducing emissions. Southwest also announced that next month, they’re kicking off a more robust onboard recycling program that will allow the airline to capture more recyclable material and divert it from the waste stream.

Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman, President, and CEO is ”Honored to be working with eco-friendly vendors and partners at Boeing, excited to test their forward-thinking products, and expects these green products to not only help the environment, but also create a fuel and materials cost saving for Southwest.”

I’m excited to see when these cost savings lead to free meals again.

You can read more about how Southwest cares about the environment by downloading their report, “Southwest Cares.”

Now if airlines can work on doing away with the totally pointless, totally wasteful luggage plastic wrap offered at airports around the world. Talk about making something totally unnecessary and completely unsustainable!

Audrey is a freelance copywriter. She has worked with every kind of company, helping them to communicate their message of sustainability. Careful to never greenwash, Audrey believes that transparency in marketing is just as important as branding. And that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive. When she's not blogging, marketing sustainability or writing radio commercials for Chinese food, you can find Audrey rock-climbing, riding her bike around San Francisco, or looking for work (she's available for hire, call now!)

5 responses

  1. Good initiative, good start. Sustainability can equal greater profits. Now Southwest, start asking your suppliers what they are doing, what can they do. It will continue to take large eco-savvy companies to push this agenda downstream.

  2. I love Southwest and am glad they are working towards these goals. Instead of increasing recycling program to reduce waste stream, why not remove it entirely from the waste stream. Become the “green” airline and ask your passengers to bring their own water refillable water bottles. The amount of single use water bottles on each flight each day must be an insane amount. Southwest already has a loyal customer base, instill these green values in them as well. My two cents.

    Denny Pallenberg
    MBA in Sustainable Business, Candidate
    Bainbridge Graduate Institute

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