3bl logo
Subscribe
logo

Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.

logo

Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

JetBlue's CSR Report Proves It's a Leader in the Industry

Bill DiBenedetto headshotWords by Bill DiBenedetto
Leadership & Transparency
hero

JetBlue Airways’ aptly-named corporate responsibility report, The Blue Review, outlines the company's values and the progress it has made in its approaches to environmental, social and business responsibility.

The report, issued this month, highlights major developments made by the airline in 2014, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The airline managed to cut GHGs by 6 percent from 2013 to 2014, from 1.65 to 1.54 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per 1,000 revenue-ton miles.

While that may not sound very impressive, it’s a significant improvement in this industry because jet fuel is expensive, plus it’s not exactly the cleanest fuel available — and airlines use a tremendous amount of it.

In line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Version 4 standards, JetBlue’s report focuses on its responsibility strategy as guided by its five core values – safety, caring, integrity, passion and fun.

“JetBlue values are fundamental to who we are and how we operate. It is only fitting that our approach to responsibility is based on these standards. Our mission is to inspire humanity in the air and on the ground. This only works if both crewmembers and customers believe in this mission,” Robin Hayes, JetBlue CEO and president, wrote in the report.

He added that the footprint of the airline’s brand in the community “is very important as a test of authenticity … We know airplanes create carbon dioxide emissions, so this is where technology plays a huge role.”

Hayes applauded the work the engine manufacturers are doing to develop more efficient engines. The Airbus “new engine option” (NEO) — JetBlue has 70 on order — has an engine that’s 15 percent more efficient. It has 25 of the aircraft on order that will begin arriving in 2020, and 45 that will join the fleet starting in 2018.

Over the next several years, JetBlue plans even more fuel-efficient options, including a retrofit, beginning this year, of its entire A320 fleet with Sharklets — curved extensions to airplane wings that improve aerodynamics. This change will in turn boost fuel efficiency by around 3 percent on long-haul flights.

Highlights from the 2014 Blue Review include:


  • One Thing That’s Green: Since 2008, JetBlue has encouraged a healthier planet through its One Thing That’s Green annual environmental campaign. Over the past seven years, 3,000 JetBlue crewmembers and community volunteers have planted more than 3,500 trees and cleaned 3 tons of trash in cities including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Orlando, Fla.

  • Onboard recycling: In 2013, JetBlue began an onboard recycling program. This began as a grassroots effort by crewmembers in Long Beach Airport in California and expanded into a corporate-wide initiative. During the first six months of 2014, at New York’s JFK Airport alone, JetBlue recycled a total of 1.2 million pounds of cardboard, plastic and aluminum that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

  • Water conservation: In 2014, JetBlue made it a best practice to fill its aircraft’s potable water tanks to 75 percent, resulting in an estimated annual savings of 2.4 million gallons of water and 280,000 metric tons of CO2e emissions.

“To meet our goals, we need everyone at JetBlue to be passionate about saving fuel,” the report reads. To make this possible, JetBlue started Fuel is Everyone’s Business in 2014, and “we’re already seeing a shift in the way we purchase, consume and track fuel.”

Last year crewmembers and leaders across JetBlue implemented more than half a dozen trials and new procedures that have added up to more than $2.5 million in fuel savings.

“For example, our engines consume up to 12.7 pounds of fuel per minute, so idling them for longer than needed creates unnecessary waste. By working with crewmembers to adjust idling times per flight, we can reduce fuel use by millions of pounds annually," the company wrote in its report.

JetBlue has adopted International Air Transport Association targets for GHG emission reductions. The focus is to cut carbon emissions through a variety of initiatives and meet the following targets:


  • Improve fuel efficiency across all operations by an average of 1.5 percent per year from 2009 to 2020

  • Cap CO2 emissions from all of its planes in 2020 (post-2020 growth must be carbon neutral)

  • Reduce total CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050, relative to 2005 levels

Those are laudable and highly ambitious goals that will take the collaboration of the entire industry — airlines and manufacturers alike — to achieve. It’s also cool that passion and fun are core values at JetBlue.

Image: Jet Blue NY by H. Michael Miley via Flickr CC

Bill DiBenedetto headshotBill DiBenedetto

Writer, editor, reader and generally good (okay mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by.

Read more stories by Bill DiBenedetto

More stories from Leadership & Transparency