We work with thousands of suppliers worldwide.

For Virgin Atlantic, our two biggest purchases are aircraft and fuel. And as we describe in the Environment section, for some time now we’ve been improving fuel and carbon efficiency. But in order to serve more than 5 million customers a year, we have to do a lot more than fly aircraft. As well as transporting our customers around the world, we carry cargo, serve millions of meals and buy a huge array of things, from the large (like aircraft and fuel) to the small – such as headsets and napkins. 

Our goal is to collaborate with them to improve the people, environmental and animal welfare profile of the products and services we design and buy. It’s a big task, and a continually evolving one. You can read some of our policies in the Resources section.

Tanya, our Uniforms Supervisor, talks about the life cycle of our garments, and how we worked with Vivienne Westwood to build sustainability as well as style into the design.

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Style, sophistication and sustainability

We talk our inflight food and beverage team about their award winning work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

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Bringing quality and sustainably sourced food to our customer

Case studies

We’ve made real progress on the sustainability of our airline catering operations globally, expertly supported by a valued partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). All our caterers worldwide are required to work towards our comprehensive sustainability criteria (detailed below), provide a statement of assurance that they meet these standards, and confirm compliance through an annual SRA audit. We’re pleased to say that over 63% of our flights are now served by caterers who meet all of our criteria, and we’re continuing to work with all our caterers to increase this even further.

Our sustainability criteria include:

  • The farmers who grow the food we serve get fair terms of trade and good working conditions.
  • The products our caterers purchase support biodiversity and do not contribute towards deforestation*.
  • We are allowing for innovative ways of waste management for some waste, opposed to incineration or landfill.
  • The fish and seafood we serve is from sustainable sources.
  • The animal products we serve, whether meat, dairy, eggs or fish, are derived from livestock that has been treated ethically and humanely.
  • The caterers that we work with are committed to a process of continual sustainability improvement in their products and business operations.

Through our engagement, we can influence our suppliers’ procurement policies as well as their wider supply chains. As they adopt these working practices for us, the effect snowballs as they go on to provide services to other airlines. There are a very limited number of airline caterers operating across the world, so our programme is leading the way in making change happen across the airline industry.

 

* This includes using certified sustainable sources of palm oil (CSPO) where possible; and otherwise buying sustainable palm credits to support progress towards a sustainable palm oil industry more widely.