Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Sustainability at Virgin, and what is The Big Red Box?

Image from The Big Red Box

If sustainable lifestyles were a big red box, what would you find inside?

Organic produce, a bicycle, solar panels?

This question was posed to Virgin CEOs around the world and their responses have been captured in a new short film, which can be seen below.

The Big Red Box from Given London on Vimeo.

For Virgin Atlantic it was wind turbine, for Virgin Active it was swimming goggles and for us – Virgin Australia, it was a mallee tree.

As an airline, we have the privilege each day to connect families, communities and businesses from across Australiaand around the world. We are always looking at new ways to carry-out this vital function while at the same time minimising the impact it has on our environment. Here are some of the ways we are doing this:

We actively support the development of sustainable, aviation biofuel:

  • We know that the path towards a sustainable aviation biofuel will involve a variety of sources and processes. This is why last year we announced our support of two highly promising projects that use sustainable means and methods, such as the eucalypt mallee tree, to achieve high-quality bio-crude oil.

We foster Australian innovation:

  • We were drawn to these two biofuel projects because their activities support Australian jobs, rural communities and our natural environment. Sustainability is just as much about the environmental dimension as it is about the social and economic, what we call the ‘triple bottom line’. This mindset is of course, important for the sustainability of the world’s resources, but it’s also good for business. Caring for people, communities and the planet will ensure we’re around for the long-haul.

We maintain a very young fleet of fuel efficient aircraft:

New Boeing 737-800BSI VHYFF takes off from Boeing Field


  • We have invested in a $2.5billion fleet renewable program over the next six years to ensure our fleet remain modern and fuel efficient. An example of this is the introduction of ATR turboprop aircraft to our fleet, which are up to 40% more fuel and greenhouse efficient than existing aircraft on our short to medium haul routes.
  • Quick fact: by June this year, our average aircraft age will be 4.1 years.

We care about the air and the ground:

  • Even though our flight operations account for the vast majority of our carbon footprint, we are still committed to minimising the environmental impact we have on the ground. To this end, we are have introduced recycling facilities at our terminals, innovated the treatment applied to our aircraft to reduce our water usage, cut back on paper through the use of digital manuals for our flight crew and become a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant as a commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our catering products.

These are just some of Virgin Australia’s sustainability initiatives. For more information, you can check out the sustainability section of our website.

Regardless of whether we call the office, the gym, the train station or the airport terminal home, Virgin companies all around the world are challenging the status quo by using business as a force for good.


Now we want to know what you’re doing to contribute to sustainable lifestyles. What would you put in the Big Red Box?  


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