press releases | carbonfund.org
Linda Kelly

Linda Kelly

First Airline to Allow Flyers to Offset Carbon Emissions In-Flight To Match Donations Made Onboard * to Environmental Causes

Teammate Volunteers Across U.S. Participate in Restoration Projects

San Francisco – April 22, 2015 – Virgin America, the only California-based airline and the first domestic carrier to offer flyers the ability to offset the environmental impact of their flights while at 35,000 feet, will match all onboard donations made by guests today through April 30, 2015, via the airline’s “Make a Difference” platform* on its seatback entertainment system.  For every traveler who offsets the carbon footprint of their flight via the airline’s Red seatback entertainment platform, Virgin America will make a matching donation to both the nation’s leading nonprofit carbon offset provider: Carbonfund.org Foundation and the airline’s nonprofit environmental science education provider: NatureBridge.  Since 2008, Virgin America flyers have offset over 15 million pounds of carbon emission through the airline’s simple onboard offset option housed on its touch-screen seatback entertainment platform.  The airline is also teaming up with NatureBridge to support restoration projects focused on shoreline clean-up and preservation projects at sites like Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands. Across the country, Virgin America teammates in other cities also are participating in local environmental clean-up events in support of Earth Day throughout April. 

“As both a Virgin-branded company and the country’s only California-based airline, it’s in our DNA to make environmentally sustainable practices a priority,” said Frances Fiorillo, Senior Vice President of People and InFlight at Virgin America. “California is known the world over for its spectacular natural beauty and for being the birthplace of the environmental movement, so it is only fitting that we do our part and provide opportunities to our teammates and flyers to help protect our state’s most beautiful and scenic natural resources.” 

“Our partnership with Virgin America means support for important and innovative projects in the fight against global warming,” said Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org. “We value our long-standing partnership with Virgin America, an airline that has been committed to sustainability practices since day one. Providing travelers a way to get involved in the sustainability effort, by offsetting their flight emissions fits well with our goal of making it easy and affordable to offset one’s carbon footprint and support emissions reductions.”

Launched in 2007 and headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Virgin America has built sustainable practices into its operations from day one.  The airline operates one of the youngest fleets in the U.S. and with investment in new aircraft and engines, the latest navigational systems, and consistent use of best practices on the ground and in the air, its fleet is up to 20% more fuel efficient than the U.S. industry average.  The airline’s home base at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2 (T2) is LEED® Gold-certified. With additional investments from the airline, Virgin America’s own office spaces within T2 achieved the highest possible LEED® Platinum-certification.  Virgin America was also the first airline to offer guests the opportunity to offset their emissions while in-flight. The proceeds from the carbon offset program have supported independently verified offset projects within California including The Hilarides Dairy Project in Lindsay, California that helps to reduce heat-trapping methane emissions which in turn, lessens the impact of global climate change and each year reduces approximately 18,500 metric tons of CO₂ emissions. The project also encourages the development of new technologies, reduces local water pollution and also provides an alternative source of income for local farmers. Since 2010, the airline has also offset its annual carbon footprint for its Burlingame, Calif. based headquarters through Carbonfund.org.

Virgin America has also expanded its partnership with NatureBridge this year to include a $30,000 cash and in-kind donation as well as participation in restoration efforts for teammate volunteers in Los Angeles and San Francisco on Coastal Cleanup Day later this year. Virgin America teammates’ efforts at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands will help to preserve the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is known for its tide pools, wildflowers and unique rock formations. NatureBridge educators will lead the airline’s teammates this weekend as they help to improve the coastline by removing non-native, invasive plant species along the beach.

“We are so pleased to continue and expand our partnership with Virgin America, an airline that has demonstrated its commitment to the environment and sustainability,” said Jason Morris, NatureBridge Interim President and CEO. “Together, NatureBridge and Virgin America are addressing the urgent need to provide the next generation with a hands-on environmental science education. Partnerships like this are key to our ability to achieve our mission to foster environmental literacy for a more sustainable planet.”

Virgin America’s Earth Day efforts will once again stretch across the nation, with teammate participation in clean-up and restoration projects in each of the airline’s destination cities. Virgin America teammates are supporting clean-up efforts in locations including Long Beach, the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., Independence Park in Newark, Columbus Park in New York, Secret Woods Nature Center in Fort Lauderdale, Desert Bloom Park in Las Vegas, Collins Beach in Portland, Ocean Beach in San Diego and Des Moines Beach Park in Seattle. Volunteers include members of Virgin America’s Green Team – a teammate-led group focused on finding innovative ways across the airline’s operations to reduce the company’s footprint.

Since its 2007 launch, Virgin America has made environmentally sustainable practices part of its training and operations:

  • The carrier operates a fleet of 53 new Airbus A320-family aircraft that is up to 20 percent more CO2 efficient than the average U.S. fleet.
  • The airline employs environmentally friendly practices, such as minimizing use of auxiliary power units, single-engine taxiing, electronic flight bags, idle reverse landings, utilizing advanced avionics to fly more efficiently and cost index flying – the practice of regulating speed to reduce fuel burn.
  • In 2014, Virgin America became the first airline in North America certified to the Federal Aviation Administration to fly 0.1 Required Navigational Performance approaches, enhancing the efficiency of landings in reduced visibility and further minimizing fuel burn. 
  • Virgin America participates in LSG Sky Chefs’ Zero Waste to Landfill (ZLF) program, which aims to divert available waste from landfills.  100 percent of kitchens serving Virgin America recycle materials, including three kitchens which provide biocomposting, with more to come.
  • In 2013 the airline took deliverey of its first Airbus A320 family aircraft with sharklets, wingtip devices with the potential to help the airline realize to 4% additional fuel efficiency across the network. Future deliveries in 2015 and 2016 will also be equipped with the fuel-efficient sharklets. 
  • In 2011, the airline became the anchor tenant at San Francisco International Airport’s beautiful and sustainable Terminal 2 (T2) – the first major LEED® Gold-certified airport terminal in the U.S. Virgin America made additional investments within its T2 spaces in 2012 to achieve the highest possible LEED® Platinum-certification. Both the Gold and Platinum levels are the first such certifications for a major commercial airport in the U.S.

Photos of Virgin America’s unique aircraft and broadcast quality b-roll can be found at: https://www.virginamerica.com/cms/about-our-airline/photos.html.

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Media Contact: 
Patricia Condon 650-906-8147or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Editor’s Note:Virgin America is a U.S.-controlled, owned and operated airline. It is an entirely separate company from Virgin Atlantic. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is a minority share investor in Virgin America. 

About Virgin America:  Known for its mood-lit cabins, three beautifully designed classes of service and innovative fleetwide amenities — like touch-screen personal entertainment, WiFi and power outlets at every seat, Virgin America has built a loyal following of flyers and earned a host of awards since launching in 2007 — including being named both the "Best U.S. Airline" in Condé Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards for the past seven consecutive years. For more: www.virginamerica.com

About NatureBridge: Founded in 1971, NatureBridge provides environmental science education for students in the world’s best classrooms—our national parks. Through residential education programs, NatureBridge connects students to the wonder and science of nature and inspires the stewards of tomorrow. As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, the organization serves more than 30,000 students each year and offers programs in six national parks: Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Channel Islands National Park, and Prince William Forest Park. NatureBridge also offers professional development opportunities for teachers and family and youth programs. NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit: naturebridge.org

About Carbonfund.org Foundation: Carbonfund.org is the nation’s leading nonprofit carbon reduction and climate solutions organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact by supporting third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry projects. Carbonfund.org has over 750,000 individual supporters and works with over 2,000 business partners. 

*Donation Match: Virgin America will match donations made to NatureBridge and Carbonfund.org via the airline’s “Make a Difference” donation platform onboard its in-flight entertainment system, Red, from April 22, 2015 through April 30, 2015 up to $10,000.

This year will mark Dolphin Blue’s 5th anniversary as a Carbonfree® Business Partner.  The staff at Dolphin Blue is proud and honored to continue offsetting operational emissions with Carbonfund.org and has decided to take it a step further by purchasing an additional 36 metric tonnes of carbon offsets to neutralize projected annual operating emissions.  Including these latest offsets purchased, Dolphin Blue has neutralized almost 718,000 pounds of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the carbon dioxide sequestered by planting 8350 tree seedlings and growing them for ten years.    

Dolphin Blue has come a long way these past 5 years, by expanding their business offerings to include all-green, no harm products for household cleaning, lawn and garden care, pet care, children’s toys and body care that are produced with a minimal carbon emissions. Every product that Dolphin Blue carries is made from post-consumer recycled content, requiring less energy to produce, and is made in the USA, which means fewer emissions, compared to products made from virgin materials and imported from other countries. 

Dolphin Blue supports initiatives that foster education and awareness in issues of sustainability, energy alternatives, organic agriculture and reducing waste.   Dolphin Blue wants everyone who visits their website to be educated on why they are purchasing these items and the difference buying one eco-friendly product can make. 

Dolphin Blue also is honored to be associated with organizations such as B Corporation, Green Chamber of Commerce, EPA Green Power Partner, Chlorine Free Products Association, North Texas Clean Air Coalition, Green Source DFW, and the Voluntary Renewable Energy Coalition.

For over 20 years, Dolphin Blue has continued to conduct business always respecting the natural world in which we live, and they ask their customers and other businesses to do the same. That’s why Dolphin Blue is encouraging other B Corps to go above and beyond by offsetting their companies’ annual operational emissions and educating their customers on the importance of reducing their individual carbon footprint. 

Envira RainbowLocation: Near city of Feijó in the State of Acre, Brazil
Project Type: Forest Conservation Project
Total Size: Approximately 500,000 acres / 200,000 hectares
Certification: Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Environmental Benefits 

  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • Mitigate climate change
  • Conserve habitat for endemic bird species and threatened tree species
  • Improve local water quality
  • Retain top soil and control erosion

Community Benefits

  • Establish alternative sources of income and employment opportunities
  • Provide agricultural extension training
  • Grant official land tenure
  • Social projects and programs such as commercializing the collection, transport and sale of medicinal plants

Project Description

The Envira Amazonia Project is a payment for ecosystem services forest conservation project, otherwise known as a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) project, protecting nearly 500,000 acres / 200,000 hectares of tropical rainforest. 

The Envira Amazonia Project shall mitigate the release of more than 12.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, while also preserving the habitat for an extraordinary amount of biodiversity and directly benefitting local communities. 

The ultimate project activities are to undertake a forest carbon inventory, model regional deforestation and land-use patterns, and mitigate deforestation pressures by utilizing payments for the Project’s ecosystem services, along with ongoing monitoring of the climate, community and biodiversity impacts of the Project.  In addition to voluntarily foregoing plans to convert the forests to a large-scale cattle ranch, the landowners will also implement numerous activities to assist local communities and mitigate deforestation pressures such as: offering agricultural extension training courses; beginning patrols of potential deforestation sites in the early stages of the Project; granting land tenure to local communities; and establishing alternative economic activities including commercializing the collection of medicinal plants and açaí. 

Envira SchoolThe Envira Amazonia Project has acheived validation to the VCS and CCBS with Gold Level Distinction for the Project’s exceptional biodiversity and community benefits, along with the Project’s incorporation of climate change mitigation activities. 

The Envira Amazonia Project is being financed, designed and implemented by Carbonfund.org’s wholly-owned subsidiary CarbonCo and shall result in net positive climate, community and biodiversity benefits.Envira School 2

Location: Near city of Cruzeiro do Sul in the State of Acre, BrazilRussas Trees
Project Type: Forest Conservation Project
Total Size: Approximately 160,000 acres / 64,750 hectares
Certification: Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) with Gold Distinction and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Environmental Benefits 

  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions
  • Mitigate climate change
  • Conserve habitat for endangered and threatened species
  • Improve local water quality
  • Retain top soil and control erosion

Community Benefits

  • Establish alternative sources of income and employment opportunities
  • Provide agricultural extension training
  • Grant official land tenure
  • Social projects and programs such as building a health clinic and an association for açaí and manioc flour

Project Description

The Russas-Valparaiso Projects are payments for ecosystem services forest conservation projects, otherwise known as a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) projects, protecting nearly 160,000 acres / 64,750 hectares of tropical rainforest. 

Russas ProjectThe Russas-Valparaiso Projects shall mitigate the release of approximately 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, while also preserving the habitat for an extraordinary amount of biodiversity and directly benefitting local communities. 

The ultimate project activities are to undertake a forest carbon inventory, model regional deforestation and land-use patterns, and mitigate deforestation pressures by utilizing payments for the Projects’ ecosystem services, along with ongoing monitoring of the climate, community and biodiversity impacts of the Projects.  Social projects and activities to mitigate deforestation pressures range from providing agricultural extension training courses to local communities, to beginning patrols of potential deforestation sites in the early stages of the Project, to eventually establishing an association to assist with the local production of açaí and manioc flour.  

The Russas-Valparaiso Projects achieved Gold Level Distinction to the CCBS due to the projects’ exceptional community benefits.  The Projects are being financed, designed and implemented by Carbonfund.org’s wholly-owned subsidiary CarbonCo and shall result in net positive climate, community and biodiversity benefits.Russas Egret

                                                                                        

Russas School

PureLife Dental is “watching its Ps” when it comes to its triumvirate of operating commitments.  PureLife empowers dental practitioners to make a positive difference in the health of their patients, staff, and environmental impact, so that achieving better health can be a realistic part of every purchase decision they make.

The firm’s “Patients, Planet, Profits” Pledge ensures that PureLife Dental’s customers benefit from the company’s goal to provide the highest quality and most environmentally healthy products at the best available prices.  From complete waste solutions to everyday dental supplies, PureLife Dental believes that healthy patients, a healthy planet, and healthy profits can all be achieved, with no tradeoffs required.

Through Carbonfund.org, PureLife Dental offsets 100% of the company’s annual operational emissions, as well as all of the shipping emissions for every product they sell, from the manufacturing line to the customer’s door.  Since 2008, PureLife Dental has neutralized over 16.5 million pounds of carbon emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s reforestation projects around the world.  Those carbon emissions reductions are comparable to the quantity of carbon dioxide sequestered by over 192,000 tree seedlings planted and grown over a ten-year period. As a result, PureLife Dental customers are reducing their own environmental impact with every order placed through PureLife.

“When we launched PureLife, the first thing we did was to see how we could reduce the impact of shipping products all over the country,” said Cassie Walker, VP of Marketing and Sustainability. “This was important, because dentists could buy their supplies from anyone, but if they buy them from us there’s a reduced eco impact, automatically.”

“We chose Carbonfund.org for our offset program because they had credibility – their projects are third-party validated and additional – as well as the expertise to help us calculate our emissions until we developed that capability in-house,” said Walker. “They’ve continued to help us refine our program and figure out approachable ways to talk about it with our customers.”

In addition to their carbon neutral operations, PureLife’s Feel Good Collection include products that have an environmental advantage over their traditional counterparts. Whether they contain recycled content or non-toxic chemistries, or they come in reduced or recycled content packaging, these products allow dental practitioners to make a difference without sacrificing anything. 

PureLife Dental’s commitment to “Patients, Planet, Profits” underscores its sustainability leadership in the dental supply industry, and Carbonfund.org is honored to partner with PureLife to help achieve these goals.

For over 28 years, Hornblower Cruises & Events has been the premier yacht charter and public dining cruise company in Southern California. With the largest fleet of luxury entertainment yachts in Los Angeles and Orange County, Hornblower prides itself on exceeding expectations with uncompromising quality and exceptional service.

Hornblower joined the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program in 2008 by calculating and offsetting the emissions from their office and charter boat operations at their Newport Beach facilities, which serves the greater Los Angeles region. Through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership, Hornblower supports carbon emission reductions achieved through energy efficiency, renewable energy and forestry projects around the world. In addition, Hornblower has taken the unique step of offering a path for their own customers to join their efforts to “Respect Our Planet”, by giving them an opportunity to offset their own carbon footprint related to cruising with Hornblower, as part of the ticket price.

“Hornblower Cruises & Events is dedicated to find ways to provide our guests with a unique dining experience while doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint. Our partnership with Carbonfund.org makes this possible.” Explains Rebecca Milkey, Director of Marketing for Hornblower Cruises & Events Southern California.

Maintaining their Carbonfree® Partnership program is part of Hornblower’s corporate environmental outreach program, Respect Our Planet, which guides the company’s principles and programs. Through Respect Our Planet, Hornblower is committed to conducting operations in the most environmentally friendly methods possible, educating along with motivating tour guests to make positive changes in their lives and creating outreach and education around the preservation of the habitats in the communities they serve.

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