JetBlue Airways is the first travel company to tie the health of the Caribbean’s beaches to its bottom line.
The airline is partnering with The Ocean Foundation, which will work with the airline to develop a plan to protect the region's natural resources, show the value of clean beaches and directly tie ecology and the importance of nature to the airline's base measurement -- revenue per available seat mile (RASM).
JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty club members can donate points to The Ocean Foundation. Points will be converted to cash to benefit the non-profit's Coral Reef Fund.
True Giving, a unique enhancement to the airline's TrueBlue customer loyalty program, provides members with an alternate way to use their points. Customers now have the choice to redeem their points for future travel or donate them to benefit others. Points can be donated locally or globally to millions of causes at Truegiving.jetblue.com.
Destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean now make up one-third of JetBlue's route network. The health and appearance of a destination has a direct impact on the company’s revenue, says James Hnat, JetBlue's executive vice president corporate affairs and general counsel.
"We have a vested interest in preserving the ocean and maintaining clean beaches," he says in a release. "By putting actual dollar numbers to the importance of ocean conservation, we will strengthen interest in protecting the destinations and ecosystems we depend on both financially and ecologically.”
The long-term health of the Caribbean's oceans and beaches is a Commitment to Action developed at the Clinton Global Initiative Latin America meeting.
CGI connected JetBlue with The Ocean Foundation, whose mission is to advance global ocean conservation. The organizations will develop a Commitment to Action to measure the value of clean beaches in the Caribbean, tie it to JetBlue's revenue, and devise a business-relevant plan to preserve and protect the ocean.
Travel companies make money off of nature and its beauty. Yet this investment is rarely reported in financial documents and almost never tied to revenue, says Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue's head of sustainability.
“To change that, we are calculating how much revenue per customer we owe to the Caribbean's beauty," she says. "The value of beaches depends on many factors. Clean beaches ultimately affect our bottom line and therefore are worth tracking and investing in cleaning and protecting. We will work with The Ocean Foundation to first understand the connection between our revenue and this natural resource -- and then develop business-related solutions to marine pollution and conservation."
JetBlue will focus on key destinations with The Ocean Foundation for a joint Caribbean ecology valuation template. The purpose is to conduct an economic analysis that determines the percentage of RASM from beach-oriented locations due to a clean oceanfront.
Destinations include San Juan; Ponce; Santo Domingo; Punta Cana; Kingston; Montego Bay; Barbados and Grand Cayman. These locations were chosen based on their diverse ecosystems, number of tourists, volume of coastal debris, average tourist spend and country GDP.
In the Caribbean, JetBlue is the largest carrier in terms of capacity in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, offering more flights than any other airline. The carrier operates one of its six focus cities at San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
JetBlue is a leading airline in the Caribbean, soon offering nonstop service to 25 destinations across the region. This winter JetBlue will operate an average of 200 flights to, from, and within the region.