Southwest Airlines announced a $10 million commitment to Yale University's Center for Natural Carbon Capture (YCNCC) to research technological advancements and find new solutions to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. The pledge will also support research and educational efforts at the Yale School of the Environment to explore the current state of sustainability, strategy, policy and economics, emphasizing trends related to the aviation industry and focusing on finding new ways to reduce atmospheric carbon.
The partnership gives Southwest “the opportunity to support the development of crucial science to combat climate change, including fostering innovative research aimed at informing and advancing efforts to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations," said Stacy Malphurs, vice president of supply chain management and environmental sustainability for Southwest Airlines. "We recognize the importance of supporting initiatives that take a holistic approach to decarbonization in the long-term, which aligns with the U.S. government's goal for the aviation industry to be carbon neutral by 2050."
Established in March 2021 with initial funding from FedEx Corporation, and taking inspiration from natural processes, YCNCC is focused on strategies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and safely storing it within plants, soils, rocks and oceans. It also aims to develop methods for industrial carbon capture to convert carbon dioxide into useful fuels, plastics and building materials.
"The climate crisis is the biggest challenge we face as a species," says Michael Crair, vice provost for research at Yale. "To find solutions, we will need the very best efforts of scientists and policy experts at Yale and around the world. It's a collaborative effort, and I am so grateful that Southwest Airlines has stepped forward to join our efforts in creating a sustainable future."
This pledge complements Southwest’s initiatives to improve environmental stewardship across the airline. Last month, the company announced a 10-year plan to maintain carbon neutrality to 2019 levels while continuing to grow its operations and stated its long-term goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Southwest will fulfill its donation through the Southwest Airlines Foundation, a corporate-advised fund within the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.