Are Any Airlines Flying Right for Responsible Consumers?

Aug 06, 2009, 13:00 ET from Green America, Washington, D.C.

New Airline Section Added to Green America's Web Site for Concerned Consumers; Southwest, Virgin Rated Highest, While United Brings Up Rear

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Which airlines are companies that you would feel the most comfortable giving your business to? That is the question tackled in the newly added 'Airlines' section of Green America's consumer watchdog Web site, (

Looking at environmental, human rights, labor, ethics & governance, and health & safety issues, the ranks Southwest the best, Virgin second best. United is in last place. Companies in the industry received low marks overall for ethics and governance.

Green America Responsible Shopper Coordinator Victoria Kreha said: "It's another big step forward for to add airlines to the range of industries we profile on our corporate watchdog Web site. Airline travel is a big expense for many responsible consumers and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to spend their money with airlines that are making an effort to be good [better] corporate citizens."

Green America Corporate Responsibility Programs Director Todd Larsen, said: "The addition of the airlines section reflects the Number 1 goal for Green America's to be the Web's most powerful one-stop information resource for concerned consumers. The result is that now provides you with the real story about abuses by well-known companies, gives you actions to promote corporate responsibility, and helps you green your life and world."

At, you can find the answers to the following:

  • Which airline was fined $7.1 million in August 2008 for violating drug- and alcohol-testing protocols for its pilots and for flying aircraft that were not properly maintained?
  • Which airline ejected six Muslim clerics from a Minneapolis-to-Phoenix flight, subjecting them to handcuffing, detention, and questioning, after a fellow passenger told a flight attendant he was alarmed to have seen them praying before the flight?
  • Which airline was accused in 2007 by the AFL-CIO of distributing anti-union literature in an attempt to block 7,650 service employees at Newark Liberty International Airport from forming a union?

Kreha added: "Of course, it's not all bad news when it comes to the airline industry. At you can also find out which airlines are working to reduce their fleets' emissions, or received a high score from the Human Rights Campaign. As with all of the industries profiled on, we rank the airline companies all on one page, where an easy-to-read chart compares their performance in categories like environment, labor, human rights, health & safety, and ethics & governance."

The full "Airline" ranking chart (with criteria) is available at


ResponsibleShopper ( informs concerned consumers about problem corporate practices, action campaigns and ways to live greener in relation to more than 150 major consumer companies. In a major enhancement of the Web site, now ranks companies in 27 industry categories from best to worst based on research focusing on such key issues as human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability and more.

In addition, to attention-getting companies like WalMart and Exxon, major consumer companies ranked by the new site include such brand-name corporations as McDonalds, Toyota, Coca Cola, Disney, Hanes, and General Electric.

Companies are listed and ranked on in the following categories: agribusiness; airlines; appliances; athletic wear; automobile; banking/financial; beauty and body care; beverage/water; big box retailer; big pharma; booksellers; chemicals; cleaning products; clothing; coffee; computer/electronics; department stores; electric utilities; electronics; fast food; food; gas/oil; home improvement/building; Internet; mass media (TV, radio, film); supermarkets; tires; tobacco; and toys/games.


Green America ( is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1982 that was named "Co-op America" until January 1, 2009. Green America's mission is to harness economic power -- the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace -- to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

SOURCE Green America, Washington, D.C.