Virgin Atlantic have partnered up with non-profit organisation Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to remove unsustainable ingredients from their in-flight menus, including beef, soy and palm oil. This will effect all flights from North America, the Caribbean, the UK, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Virgin admits to knowing that aeroplanes are the largest contributors to carbon emissions, yet they are attempting to reduce their footprint by other means, such as serving eco-friendly meals.
According to the Virgin Atlantic 2017 Sustainability Report: “Over the last nine years Virgin Atlantic has reduced its total aircraft CO2e emissions by 22% – from 5,218,451 tonnes in 2007 to 4,082,195 in 2016” indicating that Sir Richard Branson has been moving his company in the right direction.
Harvesting palm oil from countries like Indonesia has a long-lasting effect on wildlife, as already endangered animals such as tigers, elephants and orangutans are having their homes destroyed. By switching to rapeseed oil on Virgin Atlantic’s Caribbean flights, 100 tonnes of palm oil will be saved every year.
Likewise, soybeans also have a drastic effect of deforestation, as the WWF have explained that their mass production is harming vulnerable ecosystems including the Amazon rainforest. It’s been reported by the USDA that only 15 per cent grown are for human consumption and 70 per cent are fed to livestock.
The company also aims to ensure that it’s 5.5 million meals served annually will abide by fair pay and ethical working conditions, as well as removing food which contributes to deforestation.
Branson has shared that he, too does not eat beef after watching the Netflix documentary ‘Okja’, and believes that animal agriculture will one day be a thing of the past.