Air New Zealand forms an environment trust to fund R&D and launches customer offset facility
Tararua Windfarm is New Zealand’s largest wind farm, both in terms of number of turbines and output, with its 134 turbines providing an installed capacity of 160 MW and an average annual output of 620 GWh (photo: TrustPower)
Thu 27 Mar 2008 – Air New Zealand has formed an environment trust committed to funding research and development into alternative fuels and supporting other green projects. The airline has also launched a carbon offset facility through its website, providing customers with the option to fund the purchase of carbon credits to offset their travel.
The offset facility is limited to New Zealand customers but the airline will extend it progressively to customers outside the country through its international websites later in the year.
A return trip between Auckland and Wellington, a distance of 960km with CO2 emissions calculated at 133kg, will incur a carbon offset cost of NZ$4.50 ($3.60). The cost of a 20,976km return flight (2.6 tonnes of CO2) between Auckland and Los Angeles works out at NZ$88.10 ($70.90).
The first carbon credits secured by Air New Zealand are Emission Reduction Units from New Zealand’s largest windfarm, Tararua. The project was awarded these Kyoto carbon credits as part of the Government’s Projects to Reduce Emissions programme.
Airline customers will also be given the option online of making a donation to the Air New Zealand Environment Trust once it has gained charitable status, which is expected to be in May.
Trustees will consist of two well-known local environmentalists, two senior Air New Zealand executives and an independent trustee. They will identify and manage projects which meet the Trust’s criteria, and the Trust will be initially underwritten up to NZ$450,000 ($362,000) by the airline. Air New Zealand intends to make regular contributions to the Trust as a means of offsetting the carbon footprint of its staff travelling by air on business.
“The establishment of the Trust, which we expect will receive several million dollars in funding annually from customers, is an extremely exciting initiative,” said Air New Zealand’s CEO Rob Fyfe. “We are confident it will really engage customers, as they will directly have an impact on research and development into alternative fuels and supporting projects that help sustain New Zealand’s environment and biodiversity.”
The first project will be a conservation programme to develop a model sustainable farming system on the Mangarara Station in Hawke’s Bay, which will include a native reforestation project, pastoral tree planting and a holistic approach to soil management. The Trust has agreed to contribute to the purchase and planting of 85,000 trees over the next three years. A key part of the initiative is that the public will have access to the farming station to see the project as it develops.