Etihad has expanded its green loyalty programme to corporate customers with the launch of ‘Corporate Conscious Choices by Etihad’.

The new programme follows on from the launch of the customer programme in December of last year (2021), and aims to reward both corporates their employees with a “series of cohesive sustainability initiatives, providing corporate partners a competitive edge through sustainability.”

The programme allows organisations to offset corporate travel, invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and promote sustainable activities. The programme – called ‘Corporate Conscious Choices’, has been designed for organisations which are “committed to reducing emissions and operating sustainably, with rewards and incentives designed to proactively support pro-environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and employee behaviour.”

The programme has been designed as an open platform that can be adapted to the needs of individual corporates, so rewards and incentives can be tailored against any of the four core pillars sustainability pillars of the programme: SAF Investment, Green Surcharges, Corporate Conscious Miles and Carbon Offsets.

SAF Investment: Corporate partners will have the ability to bulk buy Sustainable Aviation Fuel with Etihad, which will be fully accredited and can be used to offset against the company Scope 3 emission requirement.

Green Surcharges: Corporates can opt to have a “Green surcharge” added to each corporate travel flight tickets, which is then invested in offset solutions, such as SAF, mangrove planting, re-forestation or community projects in Africa. The surcharge will pay or partially pay for the emissions created by staff on business travel, and these investments will be fully accredited where possible to provide the corporate with Scope 3 emission reductions.

Corporate Conscious Miles: When business travellers fly on Etihad and earn Etihad Guest Miles, the airline will award the miles to their organisation as well. In addition to this, Corporate Conscious Points can be used to offset corporate travel, everyday activities or purchase sustainable products from the Etihad Guest Reward Shop. Etihad will further reward businesses should their employees make conscious choices as provided within the Etihad Guest programme.

Carbon Offsets: Corporate Conscious Points can be invested in either an Etihad Offset programme or a programme of the corporate’s choice to offset the emissions produced on every Etihad business travel flight. The Etihad solutions will be accredited where possible and provide a contribution to the corporation’s Scope 3 reduction and additionally scope 1 reductions for Etihad. This is despite Etihad’s CEO, Tony Douglas, saying last year that he thought “…offsetting is cheating. It’s a short-term stop-gap if you haven’t got a more sustainable alternative, but it’s cheating.”

Like many airlines, Etihad has made many commitments around reducing its CO2 emissions, with a net zero target by 2050, and a 50 per cent reduction by December 31, 2035 versus 2019 levels. Like those other airlines, Etihad is unwilling to reveal what those emissions were in 2019, however, and so the amount that would have to be either offset or reduced through the purchase of SAF is unclear, though we have an article estimating the cost for the entire industry.

CORSIA offsets – how do they work?

Any measures which encourage corporate customers or private individuals to contribute to that reduction will become a priority.

“Sustainability has been at the top of Etihad’s agenda as the most significant long-term priority of our business for a long time now,” says Douglas, “but it is more than just a business priority. It’s a social responsibility, as the influence organisations have on society as leaders, helping consumers make sustainable choices in their everyday lives, is a duty and obligation of doing business.

“We have put a lot of focus on what governments and regulators should be doing to battle climate change, but the fact is we need corporates’ help and there is an equal responsibility for corporates to do what they can to reduce their own carbon footprint, while leading by example to help consumers to live more sustainably.

“All corporates and organisations need transportation, whether it’s for travel or their supply chain. Our aim with the launch of Corporate Conscious Choices is to recognise those corporations that take the most sustainable actions through rewards and recognition.”

The airline says that “With governmental pressure for corporates to demonstrate and uphold ESG standards, integrating offset schemes within corporates may raise these corporates scores in ESG indices, and Etihad will also work with partners on other ESG initiatives.”