American Airlines just announced they have ordered aircraft which will make them the nation’s most fuel efficient airline. In this article, the company spokesman Ed Martelle is quoted as saying, “The environmental footprint improvement really comes from those fuel efficiency gains. If we’re using less fuel, we’re dumping less carbon into the atmosphere.” Once again, saving money (on fuel) saves the environment (carbon footprint).

I learned this good news from an environmental news service and that the airlines has a “goal of improving its greenhouse gas intensity.” I was very surprised. When I flew on American Airlines several weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by the amount of styrofoam and plastic distributed during the inflight service. I also noticed the empty cans and newspapers were going into the same bag as the trash with no effort to sort them for recycling. As a passenger, I was convinced this airline didn’t care a bit about the environment.

How does the average passenger know American Airlines has sustainability goals? Does the passenger’s experience make them feel good about selecting an environmental conscious airline?

This is exactly what happens to companies who don’t understand their sustainability initiatives must be embedded in all of their actions and no where is it more noticeable than in meetings and events. If your meeting audience does not experience what the CEO is standing on stage touting, you are at risk. As I warned several posts ago, “radical transparency” will now hold you accountable.

What do your organization’s meetings demonstrate to the average participant? Are they in alignment with the message you are presenting?