March 25, 2023

Saudia to pioneer world-first sustainability initiative

International airline Saudia will be the first in the world to implement Green Points, a programme that rewards passengers for helping to protect the environment, on a flight from Jeddah to Madrid on 12 May.

Greens Points is a bold but straightforward programme that provides an incentive for simple actions that have a profound impact.

An InfiniteLives initiative, the programme rewards guests who adopt measures that reduce waste of food, fuel and materials. By pre-selecting their meals at online check-in, passengers reduce the wastage of food and packaging that ends up in landfill and also reduce the weight of the stock onboard – saving fuel.

By opting out of receiving an amenity kit, passengers further contribute to cutting waste and weight. Choosing to travel with less luggage is encouraged by a generous allocation of Green Points, and makes a significant contribution towards fuel efficiency.

Greens Points aims at cutting waste and cutting carbon emissions – an important consideration for travellers in the 21st century.

“The amount of food, packaging and unwanted items that are carried off flights on arrival and taken to landfill or incineration is astonishing,” says Jennifer Piggott, CEO InfiniteLives Green Points. “All that waste and all that unnecessary weight is bad for the environment, and it’s bad business too.

“Airlines are working hard to cut single-use plastics and other waste, and Green Points encourages guests to make smart choices and reduce that waste even further. Working together, we can cut waste and cut carbon emissions by a remarkable amount.”

In addition to the benefits of reducing and diverting waste from landfill or incineration, reduced weight on each flight cuts fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Research indicates that passengers are far more likely to leave an uneaten meal if it was not the preferred dish, with up to 20% of passengers in that scenario leaving their meal. One wide body aircraft can save approximately 10,000 kg per year in meal wastage through guests pre-selecting mains. This gives airlines the opportunity for significant savings in fuel burn per annum.

30,000 passengers opting out of one checked bag, which attracts significant Green Points, can save almost US$788,000 worth of fuel – which means a significant reduction in associated carbon emissions.

If just 10% of Business class guests pre-order their appetizers and mains on one wide body aircraft over the course of the year, the weight of some US$35,000 worth of food and packaging can be shaved off those flights.

The Greens Points rewards include transferring the points to frequent flyer points, or having them converted to an environmental charity from a selected portfolio.