United launches cargo emissions calculator in response to increasing customer need for carbon footprint data
(photo: United Airlines)
Mon 11 Nov 2013 – United Airlines, in partnership with Sustainable Travel International (STI), has released a cargo emissions and offset calculator that computes and presents per capita carbon emissions for customers shipping through United Cargo. The airline says there is an emerging global trend for increased accountability and the need to report carbon footprint data to shippers, which is often now expected by customers. The new tool also enables United Cargo to accurately and efficiently respond to shipping requests-for-proposals, which increasingly require the inclusion of emissions reporting data. The calculator provides customers the opportunity to sponsor high-quality emission reduction projects around the globe.
“We continue to see a shift in the industry towards the need for emissions data availability and United’s new cargo calculator provides a more transparent view into our customers’ carbon footprint,” said Robbie Anderson, President of United Cargo.
In order to determine the carbon footprint, cargo customers input into the calculator, which uses United operational data to provide an accurate result, the place of origin and destination for each flight leg along with the weight of their shipment.
The cargo tool, the first to be offered by a US carrier, is built on United’s recently updated emissions and offset calculator for passenger travel. The calculation methodology recognises actual flight data related to aircraft type, routes and seasonality, and considers the effect that additional mass has on emissions from freight transport. The airline says the tool offers greater reporting accuracy by applying a next-generation CO2 emissions calculation methodology informed by recent IATA and ICAO analyses as well as European standards.
The offset projects, sourced by STI, have been selected based on geographic relevance to United’s hubs and have been third-party verified to internationally recognised standards. The current portfolio includes support for forest conservation in California and Belize and renewable wind energy in Texas.
Using the calculator, the carbon footprint resulting from sending a 10kg shipment from Chicago to London Heathrow, a distance of 3577 miles, works out at 0.2474kg of CO2. To offset the emissions, the tool provides a choice of $4.95 or $2.72 respectively towards either the California or Belize forest projects, or $2.47 for the Texas wind energy project.
United was recently named by Air Transport World magazine as the Eco-Aviation Airline of the Year 2013 Gold Winner. “United Cargo is committed to an aggressive programme to promote environmental sustainability and we are focused on contributing to our industry’s progress in this area,” said Anderson.
Sustainable Travel International is a nonprofit organisation that offers climate management solutions and a variety of independently verified carbon offset projects.