JetBlue Airways is
lending a hand to Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans and beaches.
The airline will provide the foundation with air travel to help support beach cleanups and conservation work throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America.
Nearly 75% of JetBlue's destinations are on or near shorelines that support local economies, often through tourism related to beaches and oceans. With the airline offering nonstop service to 25 destinations across the region, it now makes up one-third of the airline's route network. Therefore, the environmental health and natural appearance of destinations' shorelines have a direct impact on the airline's core business.
"Too often business and media position sustainability and profit against each other," said James Hnat, general counsel, JetBlue Airways, in a release. "At JetBlue, we know that part of customer demand for our product is directly tied to the appeal of clean beaches and oceans. They are often the main draw for many destinations. This partnership with the Surfrider Foundation is an example of how a business can protect profit by protecting nature."
JetBlue's sustainability team is focused on connecting revenue and conservation, proving that corporate responsibility pays dividends. The airline recently teamed up with The Ocean Foundation, a Clinton Global Initiative partner, to explore novel approaches to ocean health in the Caribbean.
"Sustainability cannot [just] be 'a nice thing to do,'" says Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability, JetBlue Airways. "A company's sustainability plans have to be integral to business in order to change business, or we will all be stuck with the status quo, and increasingly contaminated beaches."
JetBlue is working with The Ocean Foundation to show the economic value of clean beaches by directly tying the importance of nature to the airline's main economic measure -- revenue per available seat mile (RASM). This work will also benefit the Surfrider Foundation as all three organizations have a joint goal of attaching actual dollar values to pristine shorelines.
The airline ultimately seeks to strengthen business interest in protecting the destinations and ecosystems in the Caribbean. Together with The Ocean Foundation and the Surfrider Foundation, JetBlue is developing a plan to preserve and protect these areas.