Air New Zealand purchases credits worth over $600,000 on behalf of its voluntary carbon offsetting programme
The Chatham Islands Forest Restoration Project is supported by the FlyNeutral carbon offset programme (photo: ClimateCare)
Wed 8 May 2019 – Air New Zealand has purchased NZD$1 million (S660,000) worth of carbon offsets from native forestry projects on behalf of the airline’s FlyNeutral voluntary carbon offsetting programme. The credits support a range of forestry projects located across the country registered with the New Zealand government’s Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, as well as some international sustainable energy projects. Air New Zealand re-launched its FlyNeutral programme in late 2016 so that offsetting was prioritised in the online customer booking system. According to the airline’s latest sustainability report, customers offset over 130,000 journeys in 2018, up from nearly 40,000 the previous year. Since 2018, corporate and government customers have also been able to offset their emissions under the programme and the airline also offsets emissions on behalf of its employees travelling for work.
“We are delighted to see the programme reach this first milestone with the support of our customers. Climate change is an urgent global issue, and as an airline we know we must play our part in finding solutions. Providing our customers with an easy way to offset the carbon emissions associated with air travel is one way to do this,” commented Lisa Daniell, Head of Sustainability at Air New Zealand.
“As with anything of this magnitude, it’s a step in the right direction. Last year we offset 8,700 tonnes of carbon on behalf of all our employees who travelled for work, and we’d obviously love to see even more travellers, including business travellers, join us in offsetting their emissions in the future.”
The airline works with forest carbon specialists Permanent Forests NZ to source government-compliant native forest restoration projects, which have co-benefits such as improving biodiversity, supporting ecosystems and growing regional economies.
The FlyNeutral programme is helping to create a stronger market for permanent native forestry and building greater understanding about the importance of creating a better New Zealand for future generations, said Permanent Forests NZ Partner Ollie Belton.
“The native forestry projects selected for use within the FlyNeutral portfolio represent premium carbon offsets that in addition to helping reduce climate change impacts, can improve conservation and also enhance community and recreational reserves due to their permanency,” he said. “It has been great to work with Air New Zealand and landowners to be able to profile and support these projects.”
The portfolio has been expanded to supporting projects in destinations served by the airline, including initiatives in rural New Caledonia, Vietnam and China, which have been sourced by ClimateCare and provide both climate and broader community benefits.
As of July last year, larger business and government customers can request a report on the carbon emissions from their Air New Zealand travel and click to offset these. Enviro-Mark Solutions, a provider of environmental certifications, has certified the methodology for use under ISO 14064-1:2006 and also in the Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) and carboNZero programmes.
Writing in the airline’s 2018 Sustainability Report, Sir Jonathon Porritt, who chairs Air New Zealand’s Sustainability Advisory Panel, notes the importance of voluntary offset schemes.
“[They enable] each and every one of us to compensate for the damage we do each time we get on a plane,” he said. “Air New Zealand already has one of the most successful voluntary offset schemes in the aviation industry, but I hope my fellow travellers on Air New Zealand flights will not mind me pointing out that at under five per cent of customer journeys, that’s disappointing. Air New Zealand can’t achieve what it aspires to achieve without everyone stepping up here – and in the process, making the world just a little bit less vulnerable to the rapidly worsening impacts of climate change.”
The airline points out that its voluntary carbon offsetting programme goes above and beyond its regulatory obligations for domestic carbon emissions under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.