Designed to the theme of ‘Going beyond the Hour’, SriLankan’s Earth Hour activities sought to create awareness among its customers and all its staff of the urgent need to conserve the world’s resources for the benefit of future generations. Patrons of Semondu, one of the trendiest restaurants in Colombo, loved the romantic candlelit setting that they were given throughout the event. Members of SriLankan Airlines’ ‘Green Unit’ mingled with customers, explaining the purpose of Earth Hour and SriLankan’s many efforts to preserve the environment, and distributing awareness-creating pamphlets and colourful tags.
Sri Lanka’s award-winning National Carrier has gained a worldwide reputation as a pioneer of conservation in the global air transport industry (www.srilankan.com/environment) and is one of just six airlines around the globe that proudly display the prestigious Quality Assurance Standard (QAS) Carbon Neutral Quality Mark for its Voluntary Carbon Offset Programme, ‘Flygreen’, the most recent accreditation received by the Airline.
Earth Hour (www.earthhour.org) is an annual global effort since 2007 to reduce energy usage and create public awareness of the urgent need for environmental conservation, organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). An extraordinary 187 countries participated in this year’s activities and the next Earth Hour is scheduled for Saturday, 31st March 2018.
A similar programme was carried out by the Airline during last year’s Earth Hour, when SriLankan’s Business Class passengers awaiting at the airline’s luxurious Serendib Business Class lounge experienced a candlelit dinner.
Semondu is operated by SriLankan Airlines’ fully owned subsidiary SriLankan Catering, which also operates restaurants, transit hotels and passenger lounges at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), apart from being the main airline caterer for all airlines that operate to BIA.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has often highlighted SriLankan Airlines as being among the world’s most conservation-minded airlines. SriLankan became the first airline in Asia to introduce the concept of ‘Planet Friendly Flights’ in 2009. Its wide ranging conservation programme is driven by a company-wide Environmental Working Group that is coordinated by its Environmental Strategic & Compliance Unit, known as ‘The Green Unit.’
As an airline, SriLankan has been in the forefront of formulating new conservation programmes in the industry, including recycling of materials wherever possible, waste management, continuously increasing fuel efficiency of its fleet, enhancing the use of clean energy such as solar and bio-gas, creating public awareness on the need for conservation, and promoting ‘green’ endeavors often in partnership with global and national environmental organisations. These include Whale & Dolphin Conservation (WDC) UK, Biodiversity Sri Lanka and IUCN. It is also part of IATA’s ʻUnited for Wildlifeʼ worldwide drive to crack down on the illegal global trade in wildlife.