Delta offsets the carbon emissions of 300,000 passengers in celebration of Earth Day
Tue 30 Apr 2019 – To coincide with Earth Day last week, Delta Air Lines offset the emissions of over 300,000 passengers on domestic flights into and out of New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta. As a result, the carrier said it will buy around 50,000 carbon offsets that will benefit the Conservation Coast project, which provides environmental protection from deforestation and sustainable economic opportunities for communities in Guatemala. In 2013, Delta purchased over 500,000 UN CDM credits that were intended for compliance with the EU Emissions Trading System but were not subsequently required as the scope of the scheme changed. Instead, the credits were retired against the airline’s 2013 emission levels and Delta has since voluntarily capped carbon emissions at 2012 levels by purchasing offsets.
“Delta led the US aviation industry by launching the first carbon offset programme in 2007, making it easy for customers to reduce the environmental impact of their travel,” said John Laughter, SVP Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance. “Delta is also the only major airline to voluntarily cap carbon emissions.”
Since 2013, Delta has purchased over 12 million offsets – “more than any other airline,” it said – that was equivalent to the emissions from 1.7 million cars or electricity use for one year in nearly 2 million homes.
The Conservation Coast project, run by Ecosphere+, helps conserve over 400 bird species and 54,000 hectares of threatened rainforest along the Caribbean coastline of Guatemala. It also supports local communities through teaching economically viable and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. To date, said Delta, over 700 jobs are being supported by the project, 30% of which are held by women.
“The offset projects we support are holistic, going beyond addressing the environmental impact of travel to provide resources, empowerment and financial opportunities to underserved communities like those involved in the Conservation Coast project,” said Laughter.
Delta passengers on the Earth Day flights received plantable seed paper cut-outs shaped like airplanes to inform them the environmental impact of their flight had been offset. Once planted the seeds can produce non-invasive wildflowers.
The airline said it hoped the gesture would inspire customers to offset their additional travel in future through its carbon offsetting web page. Offsetting is affordable, it added, with a roundtrip journey from Atlanta to New York emitting 0.28 tonnes of CO2 that would cost less than $5 to offset. Delta partners with The Nature Conservancy on its voluntary offsetting programme and customers can also donate their airmiles to the conservation organisation.