ANA Blue Wing
Blue Wing is an original and unique way of supporting social entrepreneurs and ‘Changemakers’ of the world by providing them with the means to travel through free ANA flights, supported by loyal ANA fans and travellers.
The idea first arose when ANA employee Akira Fukabori attended Ashoka, a social entrepreneurs’ forum. He soon realised that many social entrepreneurs often grieved over the high cost of travelling overseas; they claimed that although they received monetary support from their advocates, the cost of travel occupied almost all of their spending. At times they would even have to give up travelling for their social causes because of the cost.
Being an employee of an airline company, Fukabori started considering how he may be able to provide flight tickets to these social entrepreneurs. He decided to apply for ANA’s internal project competition in order to launch Blue Wing. He was selected as one on a list of potential projects, won the competition and then got to work implementing the programme as an enterprise within ANA.
The Changemakers are social entrepreneurs who work for a better world. We ensured that the Blue Wing programme would be available worldwide to anyone who wishes to support the programme or support one particular Changemaker.
We have selected our Changemakers not just for their interesting initiatives, but also for their tangible results – where supporters could actually see the impact of their achievements.
We also wanted the public to feel familiarity with Changemakers from their own country – we present Changemakers’ stories to the public and reveal how ANA work with travellers to help them achieve this.
There are 3 ways that the public can support the programme:
The first method is to purchase flights through ANA’s Blue Wing programme page. Booking flights this way is called ‘purchasing Blue Class’, meaning ANA will settle 1% of the flight’s cost to our Changemakers. This Changemaker can either be specifically selected by the traveller, or if they have not selected any, 1% will be equally divided among five Changemakers.
The second method is to share ANA Blue Wing’s posts on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter. When supporters share a post, we donate ¥15 to our Changemakers per share.
The last method is through travellers donating their ANA Mileage Club miles to the programme via the ANA website. This is perhaps the best known and most popular method.
Thanks to our supporters, the number of Blue Wing contributions has been rapidly rising since the beginning of the programme. Starting from approximately 40,000 Blue Class purchases at the very beginning, we are now expecting 2 million Blue Class purchases by the end of this financial year.
We believe that the Blue Wing programme been essential in helping emerging nations through supporting our Changemakers. For example, Mr. Jack Sim builds sanitary toilets in India, China and many other developing nations. We are especially pleased to hear that he has lately been keen to build sanitary toilets in schools, where many children can now learn that hygienic toilets do exist in the world. We believe his work will also help children gain a sophisticated understanding of why hygiene is necessary for a healthy life.
We have also been supporting Ms. Elizabeth Hausler to build tough and steady houses in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – houses built to survive storms or earthquakes. One aspect of Elizabeth’s work that we are particularly pleased about is her keenness to get local people involved in building houses, from designing to decision making. We think it is very important that the local people could learn and educate their younger generation on how to build houses with a true function.
Blue Wing has also been supporting Ms. Shivani Siroya, who created a new financial system in emerging countries in which people often lack financial identities, and as a result get denied access to credit or other financial products. Shivani introduced a new method of measuring credit scores by using over 10,000 data points from smartphones to analyse and calculate an individual’s credit score with an app called Tala, created by Shivani and her team. This new system enables local people to get enough money to start up their own businesses, providing local villages with a more economically active, vibrant, and happy environment.
Ashoka Japan and Endeavor Japan is the Japanese branch of a well-known organisation for supporting social entrepreneurs worldwide. ANA’s support has assisted them in giving the younger generations of Japan and Asia the chance to travel. We believe that these aspiring social entrepreneurs-to-be will lead and make the world a better place in the future.
Blue Wing has now been running for 5 years. One way for us to move forward is to expand the number of Changemakers, but this may not be adventurous enough.
What we are instead considering is to expand our support in a much broader way. We are currently studying the possibilities of collaborating with other non-profit organisations, other than Ashoka Japan and Endeavor Japan, but in a brand-new way.
ANA also receives requests from anonymous social entrepreneurs or so called ‘social influencers’ to help provide them with airline tickets. We are also considering including an option to help these anonymous people if we evaluate their credibility and cause as worth supporting.
The biggest challenge came when we initially tried to launch the programme. Although we had planned to support social entrepreneurs with our flights, we were not initially experts in the field and our main concern was whether we would be able to identify the right people to help.
It was then that we contacted Ashoka Japan to help with our concerns. After discussing, Ashoka provided us with a list of suitable social entrepreneurs and we were then able to select social entrepreneurs that fit the programme.
Ashoka is one of the few influential organisations that supports social entrepreneurs across the world, and Ashoka Japan is the Japanese branch of the organisation. We really appreciate the help that they offered us when Blue Wing began, also raising the status of programme with their credentials.
ANA have already started taking steps to improve our operations in the long-term.
In 2008, ANA became the first ever company in the airline and transport industry to be certified by the Minister of the Environment as an Eco-First Company in Japan. We had initially aimed to reduce 20% of CO2 emissions by 2020, but by 2018 had already reduced emissions by 23%. Looking forward, we continue to work on this issue and will make sure that all of our passengers fly safely and in an ecological manner.
Additionally, we also provide carbon offsetting options through our website. We would be delighted if our passengers choose ANA to fly overseas on the basis of our efforts on these ecological and social causes.