Virgin Atlantic believes in top-down approach which is facilitated by top-level management and their sustainable marketing communication underpins the linking of the service to a tangible person. In the case of sustainable marketing, Virgin Atlantic highlights branding as the key element to differentiate from its competitors and engages in different PR techniques in order to promote and market its green credentials (Mayer, Ryley and Gillingwater, 2014). The company’s environmental marketing fortifies to identify new sustainable opportunities, address the environmental impacts (like carbon emission) and thereby transform into a key innovator by producing novel product ideas. The Times have repeatedly critiqued the sustainable marketing method of Virgin Atlantic as “greenwash” as it imparted little environmental benefit. The company had been criticized to have abandoned the starting grids as Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, have himself confessed to the fact that the starting grid has faced implementation challenges and has been abandoned (Nair et al., 2016). A study conducted by Arjomandi and Seufert (2014) had revealed that out of 48 airlines, 10 airlines of Virgin Atlantic have proved to be a worst performing airline which proves that there is a negative relationship between environmental efficiency and the sustainable marketing method (Arjomandi and Seufert, 2014). In terms of biofuels, Virgin Atlantic had been criticized on the grounds that biofuels are major distractions to the airline industry and their environmental benefit has been seriously doubted. This has been further established as Virgin Atlantic as a part of sustainable marketing did not support calls for carbon emissions that were essentially important for the Climate Change Bill. Virgin Atlantic is required to carefully plan and frame their green marketing communication in order to undermine the claims of greenwash. Virgin should have purchased the carbon fiber reinforced polymer airliner such as Boeing 787 in order to reduce CO2 emission by 14-15% by the year 2050 (Yfantidou and Matarazzo, 2016).
It can be concluded by saying that the concept of carbon emission is becoming very popular mainly due to its constant effect in the degradation process of the environment. It has been noted that airlines play an effective role in generating carbon through their air flights, so it has become important for these companies to develop sustainable and ethical strategies in order to successfully operate their business in the UK. In this paper, the concept of the development of sustainable tourism has been discussed in brief with an aim to provide its readers with the knowledge on how sustainable tourism can help to build greenhouse projects in order to minimize the effects of carbon emission in the environment. The carbon reduction projects developed by various competitors of Virgin Atlantic have been discussed to see how these companies are able to contribute towards the development of the environment. Similarly, the ethical principles and the possible disharmony between tourism, sustainable development and the environment have also been highlighted to see how Virgin Atlantic are utilizing their carbon reduction project effectively. Finally, the critique to the marketing of sustainable tourism development has been analyzed to see how it can be improved in the near future.