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Easyjet Holidays to offset emissions from flights, transfers and hotel stays

22 May 2021 by Mark Caswell
Image provided by Easyjet Holidays

Easyjet Holidays has become what it says is “the first major tour operator to offset carbon emissions from its package holidays”.

The move sees the group offset carbon emissions created by flights, in-destinations transfers and hotel stays, and has been retrospectively applied to all holidays since the operator launched in November 2019.

The firm said that all holiday packages would be offset “without any cost being passed on to its customers”, ahead of its plans to launch its full sustainability strategy “very soon”.

It follows Easyjet moving to offset carbon emissions from the fuel used on all its domestic and international flights from late 2019.

Easyjet to offset emissions from all flights

The group stressed that “While Easyjet believes that offsetting is the best way to address its carbon emissions right now, it is only an interim measure until radical new technologies are available and Easyjet is actively involved in the development of all-electric, hybrid and hydrogen propulsion to achieve zero-emission flying in the future”.

Last year Easyjet formed a partnership with US-based start-up Wright Electric to develop an electric engine for a 186-seat model ahead of planned flight tests in 2023.

Easyjet partner plans to test electric aircraft in 2023

Easyjet Holidays has published more detailed information on what carbon offsetting means for the group, which can be read at the bottom of this article.

Commenting on the news Garry Wilson, CEO of Easyjet Holidays, said:

“I’m personally very passionate about sustainability and it’s an area I’ve been involved in, and committed to, throughout my time in the travel industry. While it’s a difficult challenge to tackle within travel, it’s something that’s really important to us at easyJet and Easyjet Holidays and we’ve got to do all we can.

“We’ve spent a lot of time when we’ve not had customers travelling working on our sustainability plans. We believe there’s a real opportunity to play our part to re-open tourism sustainably. Easyjet and Easyjet Holidays are famous for making travel affordable and accessible to so many people, so I’m really proud that from today we become the first major tour operator to offset the carbon emissions from our holidays – so the fuel used on our flights and transfers and the energy used in hotel stays – and being able to do this without passing on any cost to the customer.

“People have a choice in how they travel and if people choose to ago on holiday abroad, we want to be the best choice they can make. Our news today on carbon offsetting for holidays is just the first step. We look forward to sharing what else we’re committing to with our full sustainability strategy and our longer-term actions very soon.”

easyjet.com

Easyjet's commitment to carbon offsetting (text provided by the operator)

WHAT IS CARBON OFFSETTING?

Carbon offsetting provides revenues to projects that reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere or take CO2 from the atmosphere. This means compensating for every tonne of CO2 emitted by ensuring there is one tonne less in the atmosphere – by reducing CO2 by preventing its release or physically removing it from the air (e.g., by planting more trees).

DOES IT WORK?

Offsetting works because one tonne of CO2 has the same climate impact wherever it is emitted. So a tonne of CO2 released by an easyJet aircraft can genuinely be “offset” by contributing to such projects.

CARBON OFFSETTING IN PRACTICE

easyJet: The majority of easyJet’s carbon footprint is due to the use of aviation fuel to power flight. easyJet constantly measures exactly how much fuel is used for its flights, and thus how much CO2 is produced, which is 3.157 kilograms of CO2for every kilogram of aviation fuel used. Further, we use well known aviation standards and benchmarks to estimate the amount of other greenhouse gases we generate, and account for them on a CO2equivalent basis. We then offset this quantity of CO2by purchasing carbon credits which have a measured impact on carbon reduction.

easyJet holidays: We calculate the carbon offsetting emissions to cover:

  • the fuel used for flights (see above)
  • hotel stays (which is based on the number of guest nights stayed, the number of customers, and then calculated based on country specific CO2e/room/night emissions using published DEFRA carbon factors)
  • transfers (which are based on the number of customers, the type of transfer such as whether it’s a shared bus or a private taxi, the distance from the airport to the region customers are staying, and calculated on CO2e/passenger/km emissions using published DEFRA carbon factors)

About the selection process for easyJet carbon offset programmes

  • easyJet has undertaken a rigorous process in selecting its carbon offset programmes. We have specified only programmes which meet either the Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certifications which are globally recognised and respected for their standards of offsetting.
  • These certification schemes audit the offset projects to ensure that the carbon reductions claimed by individual programmes would not have happened without that project, or that by reducing carbon emissions in one place they do not inadvertently increase them elsewhere.

Gold Standard and/or VCS certified projects adhere to the following criteria:

  • Additionality: refers to emission reductions that would not have occurred in the absence of the payments derived from the sale of carbon credits. Mitigation interventions or activities are additional where it can be demonstrated that reductions in emissions would not have happened in the absence of the activity.
  • Permanence: refers to emission reductions being ‘permanent’ and representing a long-term mitigation benefit. Measures are in place to limit the risk of reversal of CO2 emission reductions to ensure their permanence, e.g. by forests being cut.
  • No leakage: the mitigation activity does not to lead to the increase of emissions outside the boundaries of the activity.
  • Measurability: GHG emissions by sources and removals by sinks are quantifiable using recognised conservative methods against a credible baseline.
  • Independent auditing: mitigation activities and their emission reductions are validated and verified by independent third-party auditing bodies. Activities and emission reductions are assessed against the applied methodologies (e.g. under the VCS or the Gold Standard).
  • No double counting: to ensure the environmental integrity of mitigation activities, emission reductions or units cannot be claimed or accounted more than one time.
  • No negative impact on local populations: mitigation activities being implemented do not lead to negative impact or harm to local communities.

In many cases projects also contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty, good health and wellbeing, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, climate action, life on land.

We have partnered with Climate Focus, a pioneering international advisory company which has been supporting governments, organisations and companies on climate change policy and projects for 15 years. Climate Focus has acted as our advisor on selecting projects and partners and has helped to develop our offset project portfolio. They are also advising us on our ongoing offset management process. Climate Focus has its headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and additional offices in Rotterdam, Berlin, Washington DC and Bogotá.

About our carbon offset partners

  • EcoAct: For over 15 years, EcoAct has been a leading carbon offset project developer and retailer, and provider of carbon, energy and sustainability consultancy services to large complex private companies, public sector organisations and governments. EcoAct has over 500 global clients, including 24 current FTSE100 clients and employs a team of more than 130 experts in France, UK, USA, Spain, Turkey and Kenya.
  • First Climate: First Climate was founded in 1999 to serve as a project developer for global carbon reduction projects. Over the years, First Climate evolved into a leading carbon offset provider, a carbon asset management company and a provider of green energy consulting& procurement services. Today First Climate helps clients across Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas to develop and procure carbon reduction projects. First Climate employs 44 experts in its offices in Germany, Austria, USA, India, Mexico and the UK.

Examples of offsetting projects include:

Forest conservation – South America and Africa

Forests in South America and Africa are of invaluable importance, both as a habitat for flora and fauna, and as a carbon sink and a regulative for global CO2 emissions. Poverty levels among communities in the region are high which has driven the exploitation of the forest for firewood and agricultural expansion. The consequences of this have been rapid deforestation and forest degradation. These projects help local users and government to manage the responsibility and benefits of the forest together to halt deforestation aiming to make standing trees valuable to local people by creating job opportunities and strengthening sustainable land-use practices which help protect the forest.

Renewable energy – Solar in India

Fossil fuels constitute the primary source of energy in India and coal accounts for 75% of the country‘s total energy consumption. The heavy reliance on fossil fuels results in the emission of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen into the atmosphere. This project helps to diversify the Indian energy mix, lessen the reliance on coal, and reduce the carbon intensity of the grid. The project is part of a large solar installation in Tamil Nadu and operates more than 820,000 solar panels. The project has an installed capacity of 217 MW, eliminating the need to produce power using fossil fuels for the project area and avoiding around 350 kt of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

Community based – DelAgua

This latest project aims to tackle Rwanda‘s health and environmental problems by improving cooking technology and is currently the largest stove distribution project of its kind in the world. Currently, the majority of Rwandans rely on traditional wood fires for cooking, which are damaging to both health and the environment. Traditional fires are not only inefficient, they also produce toxic fumes and it is women and children in particular who suffer. The project distributes new, more efficient cookstoves to households which reduces wood consumption, saves time and money, cuts carbon emission and reduces deforestation. As the stoves produce less pollutants, cooking is much safer for families. DelAgua’s project really improves everyday life for the people of Rwanda and helps to create a cleaner world for all.

About our Carbon offset project management

All carbon projects in our portfolio are verified by the international carbon standards such as Gold Standard, and VCS. Verification under such standards starts by validating the design of a project (forest protection initiative, solar farm, clean cooking programme etc) against their stringent criteria of, amongst others, additionality, permanence and baseline setting. Validation is carried out by an independent auditor.

Once the project is up and running, the emission reductions realised (renewable electricity produced, trees grown, deforestation slowed) are monitored by auditors on behalf of the standards, typically every year. This includes for instance reading electricity meters, comparing aerial pictures of forest areas and counting cook stoves; and consequently, calculating the tonnes of reduced emissions. These calculations are again checked by an independent auditor, after which the standard issues one carbon credit per tonne of CO2 emission reduced.

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