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Northwest Airlines Announces "EarthCares" Program with The Nature Conservancy as Founding Partner


The “Greening of Northwest Airlines” also includes $6 Billion Re-fleeting Program and 25% Reduction in Carbon Emissions since 2000

Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA) today launched its EarthCares program as part of its ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and announced The Nature Conservancy as its founding partner.

Northwest Airlines is making a $1 million gift on behalf of its employees and customers to The Nature Conservancy, in equal payments, over the next three years. The gift comes at the request of NWA’s corporate and individual customers, many of whom have voiced support for programs to offset and reduce carbon emissions. EarthCares will be Northwest’s program for implementing new environmental initiatives, such as The Nature Conservancy donation, which will protect land in the Mississippi River Valley from future development and sequester and store carbon.

The Greening of Northwest Airlines

The EarthCares program builds on many environmental initiatives that Northwest has already taken. Through NWA’s $6 billion fleet modernization program, the airline has reduced its carbon emissions by 25% since the year 2000.

As the operator of the largest fleet of A330’s in the world, Northwest Airlines also has the distinction of operating the youngest international fleet of any major international carrier, as well as the youngest trans-Atlantic fleet of any North American or European carrier. The average age of Northwest’s wide-body fleet is now at about 4 years.

The new A330 aircraft are also about 35% more efficient than they aircraft they are replacing.

NWA’s Partnership with The Nature Conservancy

In addition to the Mississippi River Valley conservation program, NWA’s partnership with the Nature Conservancy will focus on three other strategic conservation projects around Northwest’s domestic hubs, as well as a first-of-its-kind program in China.

Aside from carbon sequestration, these projects have many environmental benefits including habitat preservation, promotion of biodiversity, recreation for hunting, fishing, hiking, and bird watching, improved water quality and even flood prevention.

Northwest customers will soon have the opportunity to support these projects with a financial donation online at, a donation of frequent flier miles, or a contribution that is related to offsetting the estimated carbon emissions from their travel on Northwest flights.

“The Northwest Airlines EarthCares program is just one way we are doing our part to protect the environment -- which is a priority for the airline, our employees and our customers. We are proud to bring together The Nature Conservancy and our customers in support of these strategic environmental land and water conservation projects,” said Doug Steenland, Northwest’s president and CEO.

Nature Conservancy Projects Supported by Northwest Airlines

Minnesota’s Forests and Prairies – The Nature Conservancy is working to keep forests accessible through conservation easements and to preserve the last remnants of native prairies while protecting lakes and streams. TNC is working with landowners and communities to preserve wildlife habitat as well as public access.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – The Nature Conservancy has undertaken the largest public/private conservation partnership in the state’s history. The program is designed to protect 271,000 acres of forestland through working forest conservation easements and purchasing ecologically important lands.

Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau – Connecting majestic forestlands with existing state landholdings at the Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area and Frozen Head State Park is the goal of a joint program between The Nature Conservancy and the State of Tennessee.

China’s First National Park – Located in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world, China’s first national park was established with the help of The Nature Conservancy. Pudacuo National Park in China’s Yunnan Province will serve as a model for a new Chinese national park system.

Mississippi River Valley – The effort will begin with securing conservation easements on hundreds of acres of private land in an area that once hosted the largest contiguous tract of floodplain forest in North America, but only a fraction of it remains, much of it in isolated fragments. The Nature Conservancy’s goal is to preserve fertile river basin areas for multiple environmental benefits as well as the sequestration of carbon. For Northwest, the carbon offset program in the Mississippi River Valley provides a link between its environmental commitment and the cities and states the airline serves.

Praise from The Nature Conservancy

“Northwest Airlines has demonstrated true leadership by pledging a donation of $1 million to restore and protect forest land in the Mississippi River Valley. The region’s forested wetlands have been reduced from 24 million acres to less than 4.4 million. The work funded by Northwest Airlines will reconnect and enlarge the region’s fragmented forested wetlands through reforestation and long-term protection. Benefits of this work include improving wildlife habitat, freshwater quality, marine habitat, and removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere,” said Zoe Kant, manager of carbon finance for The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy has more than a half century of experience in preserving natural habitats, having protected more than 177 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide, and more than 100 marine conservation projects around the globe.

“Northwest’s contribution in support of our efforts to slow the rate of climate change is the beginning of a comprehensive program that will include conservation opportunities for Northwest passengers and help in engaging more people in The Nature Conservancy’s projects around the world. We are very happy to welcome Northwest Airlines as a partner in this important work,” said Steve Volkers, The Nature Conservancy’s director of corporate partnerships.

NWA WorldPerks customers are already supporting The Nature Conservancy and last year donated more than a million miles for its use. Northwest customers care about the environment and the Conservancy partnership is a vehicle for working together to make a difference.

NWA’s Commitment to Reducing Carbon Emissions

Many leading companies, including Northwest Airlines, are voluntarily taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions well below 1990 levels by 2012. For example, Northwest’s trans-Atlantic fleet is 35% more efficient than the older aircraft it replaced and has contributed to a 25% reduction in carbon emissions since the year 2000. These initiatives complement what NWA is already doing to reduce carbon emissions as part of its $6 billion fleet modernization program.

Select NWA Environmental Accomplishments

* NWA fleet modernization program enabled it to use 575 million fewer gallons of fuel in 2007 vs. 2000 – the equivalent of taking more than 1 million cars off the road.

* Airbus A330s use 30% less fuel than the DC10s they replaced.

* The A330 carries 25 more passengers than the DC10 between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Amsterdam yet consumes 12,200 fewer gallons of fuel roundtrip.

* NWA has retired 88 older, less fuel-efficient aircraft since 2001.

* Winglets have saved 556,000 gallons of fuel.
NWA is the North American launch customer for the Boeing 787 - which is considered the most fuel efficient commercial aircraft ever to be built.

* NWA reduced aircraft carbon dioxide emissions by 25% between 2000 and 2006.
Between 2004 and 2006, employees contributed more than 600 energy saving ideas.

* NWA removed 20 million paper tickets from circulation.

* In 2006, NWA recycled steel (335,280 lbs.) and aluminum (15,620 lbs.)

* In 2006, NWA headquarters recycled 781,300 lbs of paper products.

Northwest Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines with hubs at Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,400 daily departures. Northwest is a member of SkyTeam, an airline alliance that offers customers one of the world’s most extensive global networks. Northwest and its travel partners serve more than 1,000 cities in excess of 160 countries on six continents.


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