Etihad launches aircraft carbon offset programmer

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Etihad Airways has committed to buying carbon offsets to completely offset the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” B787-10 aircraft for its full year of operations in 2021.

The carbon offsets have been sourced in partnership with Respira, an international carbon offset finance house specialising in tailored offset schemes across multiple sectors. Etihad’s plan is centred on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.

The Makame Savannah REDD project – developed by Carbon Tanzania – employs a unique community-based model to curb deforestation and promote better management of local natural resources across over 100,000 hectares in the southern extension of the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.

The offset scheme is verified and certified by VERRA, an independent carbon offset quality assurance body, under its Verified Carbon Standard. This ensures carbon offsets are quantifiable, additional, and fully sustainable. In addition, the Tanzanian project conforms to Climate, Community and Biodiversity standards, which protect endangered species and local communities.  The scheme’s first offset vintages were certified in early November 2020.

Ana Haurie, CEO of Respira, said: “Respira offers a fresh approach to the carbon market by aligning the interests of project developers, buyers and capital providers.  In this way we create win-win outcomes for all stakeholders.  It is a privilege to work with Etihad, which has shown real commitment to its sustainability goals through what is a challenging period for the airline industry.”

Etihad has a global fleet of 101 aircraft, with an average age of 5.3 years.

Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group CEO, said: “It’s encouraging to end a difficult year with such a positive move for the sustainable future of aviation. While the year brought many challenges, sustainability has remained at the top of our agenda, and the work hasn’t stopped. Expect to see more ground-breaking initiatives in 2021 as we learn the environmental lessons from initiatives with our Greenliner fleet and other sustainability initiatives”.

Etihad has previously stated an aim to reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2019 levels by 2035, and to achieve full net zero emissions by 2050, and it intends to implement an additional voluntary offset programme for passengers via its website (etihad.com) in 2021.