Sapling Spirits takes to the skies

Sapling Spirits' vodka mini bottle on-board a Virgin Atlantic plane
Virgin Atlantic
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 4 March 2024

So brilliant to see Sapling Spirits and Virgin Atlantic coming together to create an aviation industry first with its eco-friendly aluminium mini spirits bottles! 

Sapling Spirits is a brilliant B Corp, which was launched as a climate-positive addition to the spirits industry in Britain. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic has been making changes everywhere they can onboard - from reducing its single-use plastic (which I really noticed on a recent flight), to repairing and reusing its headsets. 

Sapling Spirits’ climate efforts are focused on four key areas: reforestation, regenerative farming, waste reduction, and eco-friendly packaging. It’s great to see how Sapling uses local ingredients to reduce transport emissions, and plants a tree for every bottle sold. Through this new partnership with Virgin Atlantic, the two brands have also set a target of planting over 20,000 trees throughout this year of partnership. I also love how Sapling Spirits provide pubs, bars and restaurants with 5 litre eco boxes that can be refilled and reused, as opposed to glass bottles. Given the carbon intensive productive process of glass, the challenges that come with recycling it, these boxes are a brilliant alternative.   

The brand's wider focus on regenerative farming is important. Employing farming methods that creates healthier soil, captures more CO2 and increases biodiversity serves as a great example of what other businesses can achieve. It’s also an important reminder of the broader ways our consumption habits impact the planet. I hadn’t made the connection between alcohol and farming before!

On the back of more than 15 years of pioneering sustainable aviation fuel developments, it’s wonderful to see the multi-pronged approach Virgin Atlantic is taking on sustainability. I also love how Virgin Atlantic support start-ups with its on-board suppliers. Nice Drinks is a brilliant example, as a Virgin StartUp supported company and the UK’s fastest growing canned wine brand.

A few other changes that Virgin Atlantic have making on-board includes: 

  • Serving drinks in cups made from 95% recycled plastic. 

  • Making its amenity kits from paper products, which saves more than 9.4 tonnes of plastic a year.  

  • Replacing its plastic headphone wrapping with paper charity donation envelopes, which saves 16 tonnes of plastic a year. 

  • Swapping to cardboard cutlery in Economy, which removes the single-use plastic weight equivalent of 18 jet engines a year. 

  • Producing its famous Vivienne Westwood uniform from a yarn that's composed of 25% recycled plastic bottles. 

  • Swapping the plastic drinks stirrers with a sustainable bamboo alterative, which has saved 6.5 tonnes of single-use plastic. 

  • Serving its Economy hot meals in a container made from the plant waste left from juiced sugar cane.  

Virgin Atlantic Flight 100 at Heathrow 2023
Virgin Atlantic

Small changes make a big difference, so it’s wonderful to see big companies working with sustainable start-ups to amplify their impact. Congratulations on making it to the skies, Sapling Spirits