Travelwatch - Environmental Consultancy for Travel and Tourism
TRAVELWATCH helps AIRMILES become ‘Greener Miles’

United Kingdom, 2007

In 2007 airline loyalty scheme AIRMILES recognised the pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of human activity, because of heightened awareness about the effects of CO2 on Global Warming. Aviation, in particular, had been identified as a key contributor to the problem.

In addition to existing redemption options outside of flights, AIRMILES determined that the company needed to develop a ‘Sustainability’ roadmap, designed not only to tackle consumer concerns about the carbon emissions of flights and holidays using Airmiles giving its members choices of ways to limit their own CO2 impact, but also fundamentally improve the impact AIRMILES has on the environment.

Initial strategies

Working with Travelwatch, AIRMILES identified 5 key work streams:

  1. ‘Policy’/ recognition of issues and links to CSR
  2. ‘Internal Issues’/ starting at home to reduce the business footprint
  3. ‘Customer Engagement’/ research, communication, carbon offsets, brand
  4. ‘Customer Product Choice’/ collection and redemption initiatives
  5. ‘Working with Collection Partners’/ involvement, linkage and education


Year 1: ‘Ideas into Action’ and announcing integrated ‘policy’ in relation to key work streams

Years 2 & 3: Evolution, keeping in step, building on this integrated platform

AIRMILES progress as of 2008

Andrew Swaffield, Managing Director, AIRMILES comments: “We recognise the issues our customers face when making choices about travelling, in particular flying and the environment in terms of CO 2 emissions and the effect they have on climate change. We're taking steps to offer members more environment-friendly travel choices, so they can make informed decisions about how they travel and how they balance or off-set the environmental impact of their travel."

In developing its environmental strategy AIRMILES worked closely with and sought advice from Simon Beeching, Director, Travelwatch, the UK-based environmental consultancy combining senior tourism experts with environmental scientists and 'built environment' specialists.

February 2008, AIRMILES, the UK's longest-established travel rewards scheme, is helping members to reduce their impact on climate change by introducing a carbon offset scheme. The scheme is offered to AIRMILES’ millions of members who book flights either via AIRMILES' website or its UK Customer Contact Centre. Members have the choice to offset carbon emitted during their flight in either cash or Airmiles to support key projects in developing countries - typically providing new sources of renewable energy through a new wind farm in China, as well as hydro-electric plants in China and Brazil. These projects also have positive economic, and, in many instances, health benefits for the local communities.

Working collaboratively with British Airways, AIRMILES' parent company, the Morgan Stanley Capital Group are the official offset partner for both British Airways and AIRMILES. All money raised is used to buy carbon credits that are registered and verified through the United Nations Kyoto Protocol. Carbon credits will balance the effect of CO 2 emissions by funding projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

AIRMILES members can offset carbon emissions at the time of booking their flight - both online at or via AIRMILES UK Customer Contact Centre. The offset amount contributed is calculated using data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in relation to distance travelled.

The carbon offset scheme is the first phase of AIRMILES' overall Corporate Social Responsibility programme, 'With the World in Mind' and helps reinforce the company's ongoing commitment to be more socially and environmentally responsible. To find out more about AIRMILES' commitment to the environment and its carbon offset scheme

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