Delta, Air France, KLM & Virgin Atlantic will carbon-offset all flights to and from Chicago for the 2019 GBTA convention

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

  • Delta and its joint venture partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic will carbon-offset more than 1,800 metric tons of emissions covering more than 15,000 customer flight segments to and from Chicago from Aug. 3 – 10
  • Delta, Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic are increasing the ease of carbon-offset purchases on their websites as part of their ongoing commitment to sustainability
  • Delta’s ambition is to be the leader in corporate sustainability and is piloting built-in carbon-offsetting for corporate travel agreements
  • Delta to join GBTA’s Sustainability and Responsibility Committee
  • SkyTeam member airlines also strive to set the industry standard for protecting the environment, promoting social responsibility and realizing equitable, economic prosperity

Delta and its joint venture partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic will carbon-offset more than 1,800 metric tons of emissions from more than 15,000 Delta, Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic customer flight segments to and from Chicago surrounding the 2019 GBTA convention, the preeminent annual industry gathering of travel sales and service professionals globally.

“We know sustainability is important to every member of the Delta, Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic family, including those who we do business with daily and our many thousands of corporate and business travelers who fly us every day,” said Bob Somers, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Global Sales. “These offsets are symbolic of our continued commitment to sustainability and our long-term target of reducing our carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050.”

“I’m also pleased to share that Delta, Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic have committed to increase the ease of purchasing carbon-offsets for all our customers who book their travel on Delta.com, AirFrance.us, KLM.com and VirginAtlantic.com” Somers said.

Most of the carbon-offsets will be by way of purchases that fund The International Small Group and Tree Planting program (TIST). TIST encourages subsistence farmers to improve their local environment and farms by planting and maintaining trees on degraded and/or unused land in India, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. As the trees grow, carbon captured is quantified and verified and certified greenhouse gas credits are sold in the global carbon market. More than 88,000 farmers in four countries have successfully planted 18 million trees and captured nearly five million metric tons of carbon dioxide to date.

Additionally, Delta is now piloting a program to build in carbon offsets for corporate accounts and is looking to expand. Delta has such offsets in place today with accounts including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Columbia Sportswear, Merck and UCB Biopharmaceuticals.

“Delta’s ambition is to be the leader in corporate sustainability. We’ve learned so much from working with our customers as well as Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic as we look to expand and solidify what a broad sustainability program for our corporate accounts can be,” Somers said. “We appreciate the passion and leadership of these customers and partners as we work with them to make these programs meaningful for them and for others going forward.”

Delta’s manager – climate strategy Stephanie Zhu has also accepted a position on GBTA’s Sustainability and Responsibility Committee and will play a key role in driving the travel industry sustainability conversation and commitment forward.

“This opportunity to serve on GBTA’s sustainability board means that Delta will continue to have a voice in a larger endeavor across the travel sector as we all move toward long-term sustainability goals,” Zhu said. “I look forward to sharing best practices, insights and driving innovations through GBTA’s commitment to this critical issue.”