Etihad Airways is increasing its purchase of carbon offsets, while at the same time moving ahead with a programme which will allow passengers to purchase additional offsets for their flights.
The airline had already purchased 80,000 tonnes of carbon offsets in November.
The new purchase is through Shell and expands the programme beyond the original Makame Savannah REDD project in Tanzania mentioned above, to include Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park and Indonesia’s Katingan Mentaya Project.
The Katingan Mentaya project in Indonesia protects 149,800 hectares of peat swamp forest and vital habitats for five critically endangered species including Bornean orangutans, southern Bornean gibbons and proboscis monkeys.
By 2021, the Cordillera Azul project in Peru aims to have protected 1.6 million hectares of threatened forest and 28 high conservation value species, supported 716 jobs and created or supported 25 sustainable enterprises.
Both the Katingan Mentaya and Cordillera Azul projects are certified by the Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard. Etihad says that “they deliver significant carbon dioxide reductions, while providing additional benefits to the community and biodiversity and supporting the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals”.
Etihad has purchased the offsets through Shell, which has launched a platform to trade REDD+ forestry credits. According to Conservation International,
REDD stands for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”; the “+” signifies the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.”
Shell has committed to invest $300 million over the next three years in ‘nature-based solutions’ (“projects which protect, transform or restore land. In this way, nature absorbs more CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. These projects can lead to the marketing, trading and sale of carbon credits. “)
Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group CEO, said:
“Exactly one year ago, we committed to a sustainable future with the very real, tangible objective to be completely carbon neutral by 2050 and to reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2019 levels by 2035.
“Since then, the aviation industry has been completely transformed by the COVID-19 crisis, however our commitment to sustainability has never wavered. We have since introduced and led a number of industry-leading sustainability initiatives to further drive and promote carbon neutrality, of which today’s announcement is just the latest.”
Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation, said:
“We are pleased to be helping Etihad Airways reduce their net carbon footprint, through the use of high-quality, nature-based carbon offsets. Until sustainable aviation fuel and technology solutions are developed and deployed at scale, offsetting is not a choice but a necessity if companies within the aviation sector are to meet net-zero emissions targets.
“This agreement is a great example of action that can be taken today to engage multiple parties in accelerating aviation’s pathway to net zero emissions, even in challenging circumstances.”
At the same time, Etihad has revealed new elements of its forthcoming voluntary customer offset programme. The airline is working with New Zealand Carbon Offsetting company Carbon Click, “a platform that uses certified Gold Standard offsets to reduce the climate impact of aviation through ethical, fully traceable reforestation and renewable energy projects”, to develop its voluntary guest offset programme.
No date has been given for the launch of the new customer programme.