Cleaner Plane Travel: How To Offset Your Carbon Footprint
As I prepare to board yet another plane for yet another exotic destination for the Christmas holidays, I’m becoming increasingly aware of the hypocrisy of advocating for sustainable living and yet leaving air travel out of the equation.
Staying in London for the rest of my days just isn’t an option for me though. I LOVE to travel and I want to see as much of this beautiful planet as possible during the time I've got here. So what other option do I and other keen travellers have?
Yes - you can calculate your carbon emissions and offset or compensate your footprint by making a positive contribution elsewhere to environmental projects - like reforestation programmes, biodiversity conservation projects and renewable energy installations. Woohoo! And you can do this through making direct contributions to environmental organisations, or via some airlines’ websites when either booking your flight, or afterwards when logged onto your account.
Each tonne of CO2 clocks in at around £8/10 – To give you some perspective, my return flight to Mexico will emit 2.26 tonnes of CO2 and will cost me just £16.95 to off-set, according to Climate Care.
There are several verified UK offset schemes you can donate funds to such as Pure Leapfrog and the World Land Trust, or you can do it directly via some airlines’ websites when either booking your flight, or afterwards when logged onto your account. I've compiled a list of airlines below for you that you may want to consider booking with to make your journey greener.
Carbon neutral under the NCOS Carbon Neutral program, Australia’s largest airline is also the largest offsetter of any airline company in the world, having offset over 2.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions since 2007 via its Qantas Fly Carbon Neutral Scheme.
Emirates claim full responsibility for offsetting their emissions through a number of sustainability initiatives like recycling and waste minimisation programs, energy and water efficiency projects and conservation-based tourism developments, as well as investing billions of dollars in low emissions aircraft.
Delta gives its customers the chance to mitigate the environmental impact of their travel by donating funds towards various environmental projects in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, such as forest protection programmes that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
British Airways developed the passenger programme ‘The Carbon Fund’ back in 2011, aimed at assisting community energy projects across the UK. Customers can opt to contribute funds towards various initiatives like installing solar panels on school roofs or low impact appliances in community buildings.
Now we can travel with a slightly cleaner conscience! Phew. And who knows, maybe one day planes will be fuelled by solar power. Maybe?!