We’re passionate about our commitment to the environment.

2010 ONE REPORT  >  planet

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Our planet needs us to be good stewards of the environment. While staying true to our low-fare brand, we operate with a green filter, a mindset of making environmentally responsible decisions, to do our part to preserve our planet.


At Southwest Airlines, it’s about more than just doing the right thing. Environmentally responsible decisions also make good business sense. We are continuously seeking new and better ways to further reduce our impact on the environment and use our resources responsibly. We’re implementing Required Navigation Performance (RNP) technology to conserve jet fuel, retrofitting ground service equipment to consume cleaner-burning fuels, making energy-efficient improvements at our Headquarters to reduce electricity use, and continuing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as a result. We’re recycling onboard and on the ground, and use renewable materials. Our environmental commitment extends to:

  • Purchasing renewable energy: To power Southwest Airlines-controlled Dallas and Houston facilities, we’re continuing our five-year commitment to purchase 30 percent renewable energy.
  • Using alternative fuels where they make financial and operational sense: We’re continuing our initiative to utilize cleaner-burning ground service equipment by retrofitting or purchasing electric belt loaders and baggage tractors for all new markets. Where possible, we also replace equipment removed from inventory at the end of its useful life with cleaner-burning units.
  • Acting aggressively to conserve jet fuel: We’re leading the industry by not only implementing RNP technology and procedures for all Southwest Airlines aircraft, but we’re also advocating for the changes that will allow us to fly more flights using efficient RNP procedures.
  • Recycling, waste minimization, and beneficial reuse: With a 65 percent improvement in 2010 over the amount of paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard we recycled in 2009, we plan to continue our momentum with a goal to increase recycling totals by 10 percent in 2011.
  • Teaming up to reduce emissions: We fully support the Air Transport Association’s industry-wide goals for fuel efficiency and emissions reductions:
    • Continue industry fuel [and, hence, carbon dioxide (CO2)] efficiency improvements, resulting in an average annual CO2 efficiency improvement of 1.5 percent per year on a revenue ton mile basis through 2020
    • Cap industry-wide CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth) subject to critical aviation infrastructure and technology advances achieved by the industry and government
    • Contribute to an industry-wide goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050, relative to 2005 levels