Inspiring more customers to offset their carbon at Virgin Atlantic

Product design, product strategy, stakeholder management, user story mapping

Understanding our customers behaviour & attitude toward carbon offsetting

Today, the aviation industry contributes to roughly 2.5% of global carbon dioxide production.

At Virgin Atlantic we take carbon offsetting very seriously. A good proportion of our customers offset their carbon when booking flights with us but there is plenty more that we can do.

This project was as much of a challenge to raise awareness about climate change and encourage more people to offset their carbon as it was to understand our customers attitudes and mindset toward the aviation industry contributing to this issue in the first place.

To help answer these questions, I facilitated a discovery workshop with our sustainability, content, product strategy and operations teams to discuss these issues and map out our customers needs and problems.

We distilled all of our customer needs & problems into five themes starting with, awareness (what is carbon offsetting?), proposition (why is carbon offsetting important?), trust (is my contribution going to the right place?), morality (I feel as though I should help fight climate change) & incentivising (you can offer as little as £X to help fight climate change)

Generating ideas

Once we had agreed the needs & problems we trying to solve it was time to put pen to paper and create some ideas!

These ideas would serve as the foundation for various solutions we would pursue to help encourage more of our customers to offset their carbon.

User story mapping

Now that we had a collection of ideas it was time to determine which ones we wanted to pursue and prioritise them. To do this we created a user story map where we split our ideas into three releases.

Our MVP (first release) mainly consisted of tasks that were associated with our theme, awareness. Banners, app notifications and prompts would help drive traffic to our climate change page where the user could get more information on how to contribute.

Collaboratively, we created several different messages to use on these prompts with a view to split test them to understand which ones our customers responded to the most.

Creating low fidelity wireframes

Next, we needed to add some fidelity to our initial ideas from the idea generation workshop. As we were still exploring many different possibilities at this stage we chose to use pen and paper so we could iterate through ideas quickly.

It was crucial to prompt our customers to visit our climate change page at the right part of their journey. So, we looked at a number of design solutions for our confirmation page, email comms and manage booking pages as we felt our customers would be more interested to understand what offsetting their carbon meant if they already had a booking with us.

Bringing our ideas to life

Once we were comfortable with the solutions we had created it was time to bring them to life.

We chose to use a very bold shade of green and poignant messaging on the banners throughout the post booking parts of our journey. We were hoping this would be eye catching enough for our customers to see and want to find out more.

Creating a new & exciting identity for our sustainability program

We thought this would also be a sensible opportunity to revisit our branding for our sustainability program, “Change is in the air”.

Logo concept by Kate Pierce

The logo uses a natural & organic hand written typeface that embodies the earthly connotations of climate change.

The results

February 7th - February 27th 2020


Increase in CTR to climate page

February 7th - February 27th 2020


Increase in customers offsetting their carbon

February 7th - February 27th 2020


Increase in carbon offset per visit