Qantas to purchase carbon credits from major conservation and biodiversity project in Australia
Mon 30 July 2012 – The Qantas Group is to purchase carbon credits generated by an Australian conservation project to support the Qantas and Jetstar customer carbon offset programmes. From July 2013, Qantas will be able to use purchased credits to meet part of its liability under the Australian carbon price system that came into force at the beginning of this month. Qantas has partnered with R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings, which with Australian government support now owns and manages the 500,000-hectare Henbury Station, a former pastoral property 130km south of Alice Springs. The property has been transformed from cattle farming to ‘carbon farming’ under which an emerging carbon economy will be used to fund nature conservation. Henbury is part of Australia’s National Reserve System and the Northern Territory government’s Territory Eco-Link programme.
“This partnership enables us to purchase carbon credits on a large scale from an Australian producer,” said John Valstro, Qantas’ Head of Environment. “Since launching in 2007, the Qantas and Jetstar voluntary carbon offset programme has been a success, offsetting around 1.2 million tonnes of emissions. All customer payments go to certified carbon credit providers in Australia and overseas, and Qantas also fully offsets its own duty travel and ground vehicle emissions.
“Offsetting can be cheap as A$1 (US$1.05) for a Sydney to Melbourne flight and future customer contributions will help protect and regenerate this spectacular and environmentally significant part of the Australian natural landscape.”
Formerly a cattle station, 70% of Henbury’s landscape remains largely in natural condition and home to a host of threatened plants and animals. It is a vital building block in the Territory Eco-Link conservation corridor, from South Australia to the Arafura Sea in the north, linking adjacent reserves, boosting the resilience of the landscape and giving native species room to adapt to a changing climate, says the Australian government.
“As a designated Protected Area, Henbury’s biodiversity, natural assets and cultural values will be conserved through a range of interconnected land management strategies,” explained David Pearse, Managing Director of R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings. “Henbury will also help provide a new model for private sector investment in biodiversity conservation, and for Australian farmers to improve their land native vegetation and earn new income.”
Qantas was one of the heavier polluting companies that decided to opt in to the new Australian carbon pricing mechanism and instead of paying a straight tax on its domestic fuel at a fixed price, it allows the airline to manage its own carbon strategy and buy lower-priced carbon credits from 1 July 2013.