Southwest Airlines Soars Toward Net Zero

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KnowESG_Southwest Airlines Soars Toward Net Zero
Image courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines Co. has unveiled its new sustainability strategy, Nonstop to Net Zero, charting a course toward achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and championing a more sustainable future for air travel.

The airline is adopting a comprehensive sustainability approach, identifying carbon, circularity, and collaboration as the pivotal pillars guiding its ongoing strategy.

The updated objectives include electrifying 50% of eligible ground support equipment (GSE) system-wide by 2030, with 33% already electrified. Southwest plans to collaborate with airports to assess electric infrastructure for further expansion.

The airline aims to save 50 million incremental gallons of jet fuel by 2025, with a cumulative goal of 1.1 billion gallons by 2035. In 2022, fuel efficiency initiatives resulted in approximately 33 million gallons of fuel savings. Southwest is implementing new initiatives, such as enhancing flight planning software, to achieve annual CO2e savings of at least 1,45,000 metric tonnes.

To address single-use plastics, the airline is targeting a 50% reduction in inflight service by weight by 2025 and eliminating such plastics where feasible by 2030. Helen Giles, Managing Director of Environmental Sustainability at Southwest Airlines, emphasised the airline's commitment to decarbonisation through fleet modernisation, sustainable aviation fuel adoption, and ongoing sustainability initiatives.

Southwest is intensifying recycling efforts and collaborating with suppliers on sustainability, utilising EcoVadis to evaluate the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of its supply chain. The airline's existing sustainability plans include achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a 50% reduction in carbon emissions intensity by 2035, replacing 10% of jet fuel consumption with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030, and reducing the energy utilisation index at its Dallas headquarters by 50% by 2035.

Reflecting on progress made in 2023, Giles highlighted Southwest's 20-year agreement to purchase up to 680 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from USA BioEnergy, LLC.

Additionally, the airline launched a tool for eligible corporate customers to purchase Scope 3 SAF claims and/or carbon offsets through Southwest Business Assist™. Collaborations with General Electric (GE) Research and participation in the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project with NASA and Boeing showcase Southwest's commitment to innovation in environmental sustainability.

Recognitions from D CEO Magazine 2023 Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards and the 2023 Sustainability, Environmental Achievement, and Leadership (SEAL) Business Awards underscore Southwest's leadership in sustainability. For more details on the airline's environmental sustainability plan, visit

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Source: Southwest Airlines


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