In collaboration with Jennings, Missouri-based nonprofit Arise Veteran Foundation, Southwest Airlines is supporting art instruction and skills-based building programs for youth, veterans, seniors, and other disadvantaged groups. Arise is using leather from Southwest seats in veterans' rehabilitation programs to foster the development of entrepreneurial skills, generate income, and craft activities for therapeutic benefit.
In collaboration with Dallas, Texas-based nonprofit Dallas Designing Dreams (DDD), Southwest Airlines is supporting skills and training programs for youth, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and other disadvantaged populations in the community. DDD has produced a line of items such as golf club covers, jewelry, backpacks, and luggage tags from Southwest leather seat covers and old Southwest Employee uniforms. Dallas Designing Dreams provides employment, volunteer opportunities, and training in a creative space to individuals with “dreams or broken dreams.” Selling one-of-a-kind art and handmade products online and in the local marketplace, Dallas Designing Dreams offers alternatives to the mainstream shopping experience while connecting customers with local producers.
In collaboration with acclaimed México City-based fashion label Carla Fernández, Southwest Airlines created a line of affordable leather fashion accessories that will be sold online through Southwest: The Store. The leather products, made by women in indigenous communities in seven cities across Mexico, integrate textiles and handcrafts that preserve Mexico’s rich cultural heritage and sustain long-standing traditions.
Rethreaded gives career opportunities to women who have experienced exploitation and trauma coming out of human trafficking. The women begin with a three-month development program that includes on-the-job training as well as mental health counseling, crisis management, and case management. They are then fully integrated into the business through one of five departments and are pivotal in all aspects of the organization. For example, with the upcycled Southwest leather from seat covers, the women work on product development and design, marketing the accessories, and tracking the sales in finance.
In addition to repurposing old leather seat covers, Southwest gives new life to other waste materials, including:
We are committed to consider the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet when looking at our business. It's a commitment that we hope makes us a leader in global citizenship and supports our Purpose to connect People to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, and our Vision to become the world's most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
In 2009, Southwest tapped into our greatest asset, our People, to establish a network of Green Ambassadors throughout the Company. These Employees channel their passion for the environment to inspire, motivate, and engage their Cohearts in the Company's green efforts. Our Green Ambassadors collect six pack rings and ship them back to the manufacturer Hi-Cone for use in open loop recycling. Over the last eight years, we have worked with Hi-Cone to recycle more than 7,000 pounds or nearly 900,000 six pack rings. That's close to 100 miles of six pack rings, end to end.