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Southwest Airlines Community

Earth Day 2024: Celebrating Our Hard Work

Explorer B

Happy Earth Day! For years, Southwest has taken pride in being the airline with Heart and that includes respecting our Planet. Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to honor the work we’ve done so far and to look forward to what’s to come.


In 2023, we launched our updated sustainability strategy, Nonstop to Net Zero. This strategy outlines our path to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, supporting a more sustainable future. To help guide our more holistic approach toward sustainability, we established carbon, circularity, and collaboration as strategic pillars.


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We are laser-focused on our path toward net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a more sustainable future; for us, every day is Earth Day. Here are some other ways we’re working to make progress across the Company:


  • Hawaii Seaglider Initiative: Partnerships play a crucial role in achieving our sustainability efforts—like the Hawaiʻi Seaglider Initiative. With our membership, we will be a partner in funding a research study that will help us understand the feasibility of establishing an inter-island and intra-island seaglider network that uses 100% electric, zero direct emissions technology.


  • Electric Ground Support Equipment (eGSE): We’ve set a specific goal to electrify 50% of eligible GSE system-wide by 2030, which includes baggage tugs, beltloaders, and pushbacks. So many of our Stations are hard at work to help make this happen—like PHL, BOS, and AUS! Thanks in part to the Philadelphia Department of Aviation, 12 electric GSE chargers with a total of 24 charging positions have been installed. PHL has even recognized the environmental commitment of Southwest Airlines with an Earth Day award. In BOS, we were just awarded a $442,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to fund more eGSE, and in AUS, we now have almost 100% eGSE for beltloaders, bag tugs, and pushbacks, which was made possible through Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) $1,200,000 and $8,000 grants, respectively.


  • PHX: In 2023, we completed construction of our Phoenix Maintenance Hangar, and in early 2024, the expanded hangar was awarded LEED Silver Certification. LEED is the world's most widely used green building rating system. To achieve this recognition, the PHX expansion incorporated sustainable design features like the use of recycled content in over 30% of the building materials, the installation of high-reflectance roof and surrounding paving materials to reduce heat island effect, and the selection of building products from manufacturers with verified environmental performance. I’m incredibly grateful for the Teams that drove this forward!


  • Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures (SARV): In February, we announced the launch of SARV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest, focused on creating more opportunities to obtain scalable, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Having a dedicated investment arm of our business is an exciting step forward to support our goal to replace 10% of our total jet fuel consumption with SAF by 2030.


To continue this work, in March Southwest acquired SAFFiRE Renewables as part of the SARV investment portfolio. This acquisition marks Southwest’s transition from investor to sole owner of SAFFiRE, expressing our confidence in SAFFiRE’s promising technology to develop and produce scalable renewable ethanol that can be converted into SAF. As we continue taking a proactive approach toward securing affordable SAF, Southwest has also announced a $30 million investment in LanzaJet, Inc., also as part of the SARV investment portfolio. LanzaJet is a SAF technology provider and producer with a patented ethanol-to-SAF technology and the world's first ethanol-to-SAF commercial plant. LanzaJet will support Southwest’s efforts to convert SAFFiRE’s renewable ethanol into SAF.


And did you know you can also contribute to Southwest's sustainability journey by participating in our voluntary carbon offset program? Carbon offsetting helps organizations offset carbon emissions1 associated with certain activities, like flying, by supporting projects that avoid carbon emissions3. In celebration of Earth Month, between now and May 19th, Southwest is doubling our normal offer, meaning you can earn 20 Rapid Rewards® bonus points2 per dollar, and Southwest will pitch in $2 for every $1 spent helping us offset our carbon emissions!

I’m excited about the amazing work being done across the Company and by our Cohearts, and I am incredibly optimistic about what we are working towards. This Earth Day, I encourage us all to reflect on our environmental impact—and think about ways we can improve for the future. What are some ways you’ve shown your Heart for the Planet this month?

1Carbon emissions for flight activity are estimated using several factors such as: aircraft type, conventional jet fuel consumption, flight distance, and assumed load factor. Emission estimates are based on the fleet wide distance-weighted average performance of Southwest's flights from the Second Quarter of 2023. Southwest's emissions estimates do not quantify the potential climate change impact of non-carbon emissions resulting from a flight or non-flight factors, such as the production or transportation of conventional jet fuel to the aircraft prior to takeoff. Actual carbon emissions may vary from estimates.


2“Taxes and fees (except for the processing fee) will not be matched by Southwest or earn points. From April 19 to May 19, 2024 (the “Promotional Period”), Rapid Rewards® Members can earn 20 Rapid Rewards bonus points per dollar spent on offsets up to a maximum of 50,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points per month. Points will only be awarded to the Member's Rapid Rewards account number entered at the time of the carbon offset transaction. Southwest's matching contribution will be used to purchase additional offsets to support global projects, and such additional offsets will be retired for Southwest. Terms and conditions apply.


This portfolio of projects is subject to change at any time without notice, and Customer offset purchases may support carbon offset projects that are not presented on Southwest makes no representations or guarantees, including, but not limited to, representations or guarantees of integrity, quality, and permanence, with respect to the offsets ultimately purchased or sourced by CHOOOSE™ using Customer funds or with funds contributed by Southwest. Southwest's matching contribution will be used to purchase additional offsets to support global projects, and such additional offsets will be retired for Southwest.