mobile-image

Attending to the Planet

The size and scale of our operation presents us with an exciting opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic reduced our operations during 2020, but during 2019’s peak travel season, Southwest operated more than 4,000 weekday departures. Even small, incremental improvements in energy efficiency, waste reduction, or conservation are multiplied thousands of times—so small changes add up quickly! By acting as good environmental stewards across our entire operation, we can take meaningful steps to reduce our environmental impact and preserve the Planet—one flight at a time.

Learn about our approach
in each of these areas:

Key Accomplishments

  • Nearly 140,000 pounds repurposed

    In 2020, we repurposed nearly 140,000 pounds of leather seat covers

  • More than $630 million in Smart Investments

    Southwest has invested more than $630 million in fuel efficiency improvements since 2002

  • Reduced CO2e

    In 2020, 1.29M gallons were saved for a 12,632MT reduction in CO2e by using our Central Monitoring System

Key Topic

Environmental Stewardship

We seek to promote a better, healthier Planet, but we recognize we can’t accomplish it alone. Protecting our Planet for generations to come is going to require a joint effort from individuals, communities, and businesses—all working together to do their part. We seek to team up with other environmentally minded organizations to help us amplify our impact and make the Planet a better, more sustainable place.7676) The 2020 Southwest Airlines One Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to (i) the Company’s environmental sustainability beliefs, plans, and expectations; (ii) the Company’s plans, goals, objectives, and initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; (iii) the Company’s plans and expectations with respect to Employee training, development, benefits, (including post-retirement benefits) pay, and staffing (including with respect to avoiding furloughs or pay cuts); (iv) the Company’s Vision; (v) the Company’s network plans, expectations, and opportunities, including factors and assumptions underlying the Company’s plans and expectations; (vi) the Company’s initiatives and related goals with respect to global distribution system access and related alliances and capabilities; (vii) the Company’s financial position, outlook, plans, strategies, goals, targets, and projected results of operations; (viii) the Company’s fleet plans and expectations; and (ix) the Company’s initiatives and expectations with respect to fuel efficiency and emissions. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the duration, spread, severity, and any recurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, including through any new variant strains of the underlying virus; the effectiveness and availability of vaccines; the duration and scope of related government orders and restrictions; the duration and scope of the Company’s actions to address Customer and Employee health concerns; the extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on overall demand for air travel and the Company’s related business plans and decisions; and any negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s access to capital; (ii) the impact of fears or actual outbreaks of other diseases, economic conditions, fuel prices, extreme or severe weather and natural disasters, fears of terrorism or war, actions of competitors, consumer perception, and other factors beyond the Company's control, on consumer behavior and the Company's results of operations and business decisions, plans, strategies, and results; (iii) the impact of governmental actions and governmental regulations on the Company’s plans, strategies, and operations; (iv) the Company's dependence on Boeing with respect to the Company's fleet order book and delivery schedule; (v) the Company’s dependence on other third parties for products and services, in particular with respect to global distributions systems and related alliances and capabilities, and the impact on the Company’s operations and results of operations of any third party delays or non-performance; (vi) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively implement, transition, and maintain the necessary information technology systems and infrastructure to support its operations and initiatives; (vii) the impact of labor matters on the Company’s result of operations, business decisions, plans, and strategies; and (viii) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020.

Key Topic

Energy

Conserving energy is good for everyone. It’s good for our business—we save money on fuel and electricity. It’s good for our Customers—it helps us keep their fares low. And by allowing us to use natural resources more efficiently, it’s great for our Planet. In our opinion, finding new ways to conserve energy isn’t just a smart choice; it’s an obvious one!

Key Topic

Waste

At Southwest, we don’t think that throwing away resources that could be repurposed, reused, or recycled is a very smart way to operate a business—and it certainly isn’t very good for the Planet—so we take a comprehensive approach to waste management. Whether on the ground or in the air, our Heart for the Planet prompts us to minimize our waste stream so that we can better preserve our Planet’s finite natural resources.

Planet Data Table

Five Year Summary
Environmental Impacts

 20202019201820172016
Total energy consumption (megawatt-hours (MWh))49,779,29481,119,46381,128,55879,203,01177,366,032
Production activity (revenue ton miles (RTMs))8181) A revenue ton mile (RTM) is one ton of revenue traffic (Passenger and cargo) transported one mile. RTM calculation methodology has been updated to align with the methodology suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). RTMs for 2016 through 2019 have been restated to reflect the updated methodology. 6.1 billion14.6 billion14.8 billion14.4 billion13.9 billion
Intensity ratio (MWh/1,000 RTMs)8282) A revenue ton mile (RTM) is one ton of revenue traffic (Passenger and cargo) transported one mile. RTM calculation methodology has been updated to align with the methodology suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). RTMs for 2016 through 2019 have been restated to reflect the updated methodology. 8.165.565.475.525.57
Water consumption (gallons)8383) Water consumption is primarily for domestic use at our facilities.83 million95 million99 million85 million83 million
Intensity ratio (gallons/Employee)8484) Active, full-time equivalent Employees as of Dec. 31 for specific calendar year. Included 10,421 Employees participating in the Extended Emergency Time Off program as of Dec. 31, 2020.Nearly
1,500
Nearly
1,600
Nearly
1,700
More than
1,500
More than
1,500

Greenhouse Gas Inventory (Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions)

 20202019201820172016
Scope 1 emissions (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e))8585) Emissions from refrigerant losses are not included in our emissions inventory due to their de minimis impact on our overall emissions. Reference: Assurance Statement for 2020 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. 12,591,98420,532,32320,537,71020,148,91019,664,622
Scope 2 emissions (metric tons of CO2e) 8686) Scope 2 emissions are reported as location-based emissions per GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.38,33444,78346,97251,63453,264
Total Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions (metric tons of CO2e)12,630,31820,577,10620,584,68220,200,54419,717,886
Intensity ratio (metric tons CO2e/1,000 RPMs)8787) A revenue passenger mile (RPM) is one paying Passenger flown one mile. Also referred to as “traffic,” which is a measure of demand for a given period.0.2330.1570.1540.1570.158
Intensity ratio (metric tons CO2e/1,000 ASMs)8888) An available seat mile (ASM) is one seat (empty or full) flown one mile. Also referred to as “capacity,” which is a measure of the space available to carry Passengers in a given period.0.1220.1310.1290.1310.133
Intensity ratio (metric tons CO2e/1,000 RTMs)8989) A revenue ton mile (RTM) is one ton of revenue traffic (Passenger and cargo) transported one mile. RTM calculation methodology has been updated to align with the methodology suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). RTMs for 2016 through 2019 have been restated to reflect the updated methodology. 2.071.401.391.411.42

Greenhouse Gas Inventory (Scope 3 Emissions)9090) In prior years, we have disclosed Scope 3 emissions related to Capital Goods—Aircraft Production but have chosen to remove the disclosure, as we have determined that our calculation does not capture emissions for the full value chain of the aircraft production thus understating the metric. We do not currently have access to the remaining value chain components to accurately state the metric.

 20202019201820172016
Waste generated in operations—waste to landfill and burned for energy recovery (metric tons CO2e)1,5002,2002,1001,9002,700
Employee commuting—estimate based on survey (metric tons CO2e)
118,300151,400147,200137,600137,200

Other Air Emissions9191) NOx and SOx emissions are reported in our annual emissions inventories for our DAL and PHX facilities. Data is from prior year due to air emissions reporting cycle.

 20202019201820172016
NOx emissions (tons)7.17.16.87.17.1
SOx emissions (tons)0.70.70.70.70.7

Regulatory Compliance

 20202019201820172016
Number of environmental violations resulting in finesNone1NoneNone1
Total environmental fines $ —$ 1,305$ — $ —$ 3,303

Environmental Conservation

 20202019201820172016
Fuel efficiency (ASMs/gallon)9292) An available seat mile (ASM) is one seat (empty or full) flown one mile. Also referred to as “capacity,” which is a measure of the space available to carry Passengers in a given period. 81.375.776.375.274.4
Fuel efficiency (RPMs/gallon)9393) A revenue passenger mile (RPM) is one paying Passenger flown one mile. Also referred to as “traffic,” which is a measure of demand for a given period. 42.363.263.763.162.5
Fuel efficiency (RTMs/gallon)9494) A revenue ton mile (RTM) is one ton of revenue traffic (Passenger and cargo) transported one mile. RTM calculation methodology has been updated to align with the methodology suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). RTMs for 2016 through 2019 have been restated to reflect the updated methodology. 4.87.07.17.07.0
Total number of electric
Ground Support Equipment (GSE)
1,4391,4121,3041,2151,138
Purchases of renewable energy certificates (kWh)0More than
25 million
More than
25 million
More than
25 million
More than
25 million

Waste Management and Recycling9595) Waste and material recycled from aircraft and select facilities as part of Southwest’s waste management and co-mingled recycling programs. Data is not available for all locations where Southwest operates. Does not include international flights due to regulations that require waste from international flights to be sterilized.

 20202019201820172016
Total waste generated (tons) 6,0329,31010,5999,8589,690
Total waste recycled (tons) 1,5032,4263,7573,7373,348
Percent of total waste recycled 2526353835
Recycled co-mingled waste—paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard (tons)Nearly
950
Nearly
1,600
Nearly
3,000
More than
3,000
More than
2,600
Recycled industrial waste (tons) 423584568730721
Hazardous waste generated (tons) 25.727.429.221.624.1
Hazardous waste managed through recycling and beneficial reuse (tons)19.122.320.617.216.1
Intensity ratio (pounds of hazardous waste generated/aircraft)7273786167