Over 345 volunteers, including Air Canada employees, took part in the first Air Canada-sponsored public cleanup in Canada on Sept. 22 at British Columbia’s Garry Point Park.
In the span of just a few hours, the volunteers removed the following items from the shoreline:
- 29 plastic cups
- 1374 styrofoam pieces
- 48 plastic bottles
- 173 bottle caps
- 481 plastic bags
- 32 plastic cutlery pieces
- 159 straws
- 931 cigarette butts
- 1 tire
- 1 car bumper
- 2 lawn chairs
Teresa Ehman, senior director, environmental affairs at Air Canada, said: “We commend the participants who came together and braved the rain to achieve these results, leaving another community ocean shoreline in better condition.”
Ehman continued: “Air Canada’s environment commitments include reducing its use of single-use plastics and as part of a multi-pronged strategy, we have partnered with 4ocean, an organization which seeks to reduce plastic and trash pollution in oceans around the world.”
The airline has made sustainability central to its decision-making and business processes and has developed detailed strategies for its environment responsibilities.
With a four-pillar approach to reducing emissions through technology, operations, infrastructure and economic instruments, the airline has also designed a wide-ranging approach to reducing its use of single-use plastics.
One important aspect was to identify all single-use plastics items used onboard flights to determine whether each single-use plastic item is truly necessary and whether there’s a more sustainable alternative or a possible change in process that would result in using less plastic.
So far, Air Canada has said #BonVoyagePlastic to 36.8 million single-use plastic items in 2019 by switching from plastic stir sticks onboard flights to sustainable wood ones, phasing out the plastic wrap from its amenity kits and removal of plastic from children’s packs.
The carrier’s partnership with 4ocean complements its corporate waste reduction efforts by broadening its environment responsibility to also leave less and do more in the communities where the airline operates.
In 2019, 4ocean cleanup events powered by Air Canada were completed in Florida where many of its US-based employees are located, and in Richmond, British Columbia, home of the airline’s primary trans-Pacific hub.
Drawing from their years of experience, 4ocean will also participate with the Air Canada team to develop educational resources on ocean conservation. To date, 4ocean has removed more than six million pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines.
Among its other environment sustainability initiatives, Air Canada has also partnered in biofuel research in cooperation with the Canada Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) and the Civil Aviation Alternative Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research (CAAFCER).
It has invested significantly with a $10 billion fleet renewal program that has given it one of the most modern, fuel efficient fleets in the world. It maintains innovative recycling, scholarship and community activity programs, that also involve employees in environmental activities. The carrier became the second North American carrier to become an official member of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Network earlier this year and is committed to the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Go to www.aircanada.com/csr and https://leaveless.aircanada.com/ca/en/index.html#!/ for more about Air Canada’s environment goals and programs.