What do rhinoceroses and jet fuel have in common? Plenty, if you are Switzerland-based aviation fuel provider Valcora.
The company (Booth G29) has proven its environmental leanings with its direct contributions to several wildlife conservation projects. Over the past year, Valcora has supported two South African rhinoceros orphanages committed to the intensive care required for the vulnerable, endangered creatures through their first two years of life.
“The people working in our company know what we are contributing, and they are very happy to see that we are helping the orphan baby rhinos have a chance to grow up, so you will be able to say to your grandkids, ‘Look there’s a rhino,’” explained Bouthiaux. “If current losses continue like this today, you won’t be able to say that; [instead] it will be a picture of a rhino, because there will be no more.” The company has also given its support to chimpanzee and orangutan refuges in Africa and Indonesia.
CEO Daniel Coetzer and general manager Valerie Bouthiaux decided that rather than simply donate portions of the company's revenue to high-profile umbrella wildlife organizations, they would seek out worthy projects on their own. “We have done the homework,” Bouthiaux told AIN, noting that the research involved many phone conversations and even visits to far off locations to verify how the money would be spent. “It’s very important that you donate to the [individual] organization itself,” explained Coetzer, adding that there are many groups vying for financial contributions. “Some are based in America, some based in the UK, some based in Iceland, I don’t think these people have ever seen a rhino.”
Over the past several years, the industry’s environmental push has been on the adoption and usage of sustainable alternative jet fuel, but supplies still remain frustratingly constrained. “Obviously, we are a big supporter of that -- if we could just find the product to sell,” lamented Coetzer. “If we could have it at each and every airport, we will sell it at each and every airport, but there are only a few drops available at one or two airports in the world.”
While production slowly spools up, he believes there are immediate measures the industry, and indeed the world, can take. “Everyone [can] just plant some trees and get the forests a little bigger...back to what it was. That will already help us in the meantime,” explained Coetzer. “Unless we can create some big generators that can convert this CO2 into oxygen, the natural way is by plants.”
The company, which provides fuel to operators worldwide and is the preferred supplier for the Luxaviation Group, will soon branch into funding reforestation projects. It also will open up its environmental projects to customers, if they wish to donate.
“We wanted to raise awareness of these issues and draw attention to reforestation as it makes a big contribution towards a carbon-neutral world,” said South African-born Coetzer. “It not only helps the planet breathe, but it also provides essential habitat for endangered species. EBACE is the perfect place for us to make people and companies conscious of the ways in which we can preserve the planet for future generations.”