Prince Harry is speaking out after he and wife Meghan Markle were swept up in controversy surrounding their frequent use of private jets. The couple were accused of hypocrisy in August after boarding private jets four separate times within the span of just 11 days, despite speaking out regularly on environmental issues.
“We can all do better and while no one is perfect, we all have a responsibility for our own individual impact,” Harry subtly addressed the controversy while attending an event in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Sept. 3, according to PEOPLE. “The question is what we do to balance it out.”
In a Q&A session later that day, Harry again addressed the issue, this time more directly, confirming that like his brother and sister-in-law Prince William and Kate Middleton, he doesn’t always fly private.
“I came here by commercial. I spend 99 percent of my life travelling the world by commercial,” he said. “Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure my family are safe, and it’s genuinely as simple as that.”
The Sussex’s are, however, planning to “do better.” During his Tuesday appearance, Harry also announced the first of his and his wife’s own Sussex Royal Foundation's programs – together, they launched Travalyst in Amsterdam, a project with the aim to encourage sustainable practices in the travel industry and improve conservation, environmental protection and community economic development.
“Travel has the unparalleled power to open people’s minds to different cultures, new experiences, and to have a profound appreciation for what our world has to offer," Harry said in a statement on the program, Elle reports. “As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population. Bringing companies, consumers, and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations."
Following in his father Prince Charles’ footsteps, Harry hasn’t been shy when it comes to addressing conservation and climate change, which is what prompted the backlash to his frequent jet setting. However, the topic of the Royal Family’s travels has long been at the center of controversy.
Earlier this year, a report was published that showed the Royal Family’s large carbon footprint. According to the report, the royals CO2 emissions for business travel rose from 1,687 tons in 2018 to 3,344 tons in 2019, a 98 percent increase. Their greenhouse emissions rose by 3 percent to 8,393 tons, the Daily Mail reports, due to an increase in the use of “chartered large fixed-wing aircraft for foreign business travel.”