Airlines neglect offsetting options

By Andy Hoskins, published 10/05/2019

Fewer than 1% of passengers choose to offset the carbon dioxide emissions associated with their flights, according to new research by the BBC – and that’s when airlines offer the option.

Research by the BBC revealed less than half the world’s major airlines give passengers the opportunity to offset the carbon dioxide produced from their flights.

Of the 28 major airlines contacted by the news organisation, less than half offer passengers a carbon offsetting scheme and most declined to report on take-up, “often saying their figures were too low to report”.

Carbon offsetting schemes enable passengers to invest in environmental projects to help compensate for the emissions associated with their place on a flight.

By way of example, the BBC says a return flight between London and Cape Town would cost around £20 to offset with ClimateCare.

American Airlines, Emirates and British Airways are among major airlines not running carbon offsetting schemes, although the latter gives passengers the opportunity to contribute to carbon reduction and community projects.

Ryanair does offer an offsetting scheme but did not reveal uptake to the BBC.

However 1% of Lufthansa passengers and 10% of Qantas passengers do choose to offset.

Adrian Parkes, Chief Executive Officer, GTMC, told The Business Travel Magazine: “Airline carbon offsetting schemes, which aim to reduce our environmental footprint, are welcomed and it’s certainly a strong starting point, but there is more that can be done, particularly as these schemes currently rely on passenger awareness and buy-in. ”

He continued: “Tying into this is the on-going debate over APD. While we’re disappointed at the Scottish government’s decision to maintain the tax, we would welcome it being used to promote environmental change rather than going straight to the treasury.”