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Air Miles, Jet Blue Launch Eco-Marketing Programs

myplanetThe Air Miles Reward Program, owned and operated by LoyaltyOne Inc., has introduced the My Planet initiative that will help its more than 9.5-million active members, or “collectors”, make more environmentally sustainable choices in their everyday lives through green rewards, information and an online community. It will also help the company make additional changes to reduce its own carbon footprint.

According to a new poll, conducted by Environics Research for the Toronto-based Air Miles Reward Program, 94 percent of Canadians believe it’s important that they personally help the environment by choosing green products. However, the poll also reveals that two-thirds hold back due to concerns about the validity of green claims (67 percent), the perception that green products cost more (66 percent), and the difficulty finding green products (59 percent).

To help overcome some of these challenges, the first phase of the My Planet program helps members live greener by offering a broad range of more than 100 My Planet rewards that contribute to a more environmentally-sustainable lifestyle. Items range from transit passes to green energy services to environmentally friendlier cleaning products, all available by redeeming Air Miles reward miles.

Each reward is identified, assessed and approved using guidelines developed in collaboration with TerraChoice, a North American science-based environmental marketing firm. The assessment is based on three key environmental priorities: reduced CO2 emissions, reduced harmful chemicals and conservation of natural resources.

Similarly, New York-based JetBlue Airways is encouraging customers, crewmembers and communities across its network to join the airline and pledge to do “One Thing That’s Green” to protect the environment. As part of JetBlue’s Jetting to Green environmental commitment, the goal of the new initiative is to sign-up 22,000 individuals to make pledges at its website.

As part of the pledge and to celebrate Earth Day, individuals may enter the One Thing That’s Green sweepstakes through midnight EDT on June 16, 2009 for the chance to win a variety of eco-friendly prizes.

Some of the things JetBlue is doing to protect the environment include offsetting crewmember travel on company business for the second consecutive year with a contribution to partner Carbonfund.org. Customers can also offset the carbon emissions of their flights through its partnership with the organization.

JetBlue also plans to expand its recycling initiatives in April that will allow crewmembers and customers on flights inbound to JFK to presort plastic, glass and cans for recycling while still in-flight.

Other airlines such as British Airways, JAL Group, Continental Airlines, Virgin America, Emirates Airline and United Airlines have all announced environmental efforts over the past several months. Of these, Japanese airline JAL and Virgin America announced carbon offset plans for its passengers, while Continental Airlines, Emirates Airline and United Airlines touted green flights with better fuel efficiency. British Airways announced plans to half its net CO2 emissions from 16 million tons in 2005 to 8 million by 2050.

The airline industry, itself, is pushing for a single global carbon emissions cap for the aviation industry. The cap, based on the amount of fuel consumed by each carrier, would allow airlines to purchase credits from other entities. Some airlines have threatened to adjust flight paths around Europe to avoid complying with the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme and a separate measure in the UK.

Most recently, four leading international airlines are asking that any new climate treaty include a component on aviation emissions.

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