Cathay Pacific and Dragonair source new carbon credits as passenger offset programme continues to grow
The 'run-of-river' Lankou hydropower project (photo: Cathay Pacific)
Wed 10 Nov 2010 – Cathay Pacific Airways and its sister airline Dragonair have purchased 30,000 tonnes of carbon emission reduction offsets from offset service provider Climate Action, the third time new offsets have been sourced since the launch of the airlines’ voluntary FLY greener passenger carbon offset service in 2007. A total of 80,000 tonnes of CO2 have now been offset through the programme, including the airlines’ own staff travel amounting to 38,700 tonnes. In common with most airlines operating similar carbon offset schemes, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair declined to reveal the passenger uptake but reported a 10 percent year-on-year growth in participation since the launch. The new project portfolio includes three hydropower and wind turbine projects in China’s Pearl River Delta region.
A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific said the growth in the FLY greener programme was encouraging and impressive, and believed the uptake was comparable to schemes offered by other international airlines.
“In the past year, we have focused on educating staff and providing additional channels for passengers to purchase offsets,” she said.
These initiatives included briefing sessions for cabin crew prior to the inclusion in January of FLY greener in inflight duty free sales; development of a dedicated website and brochure for corporate customers; education material for account managers, reservations staff and sales agents; and sourcing of carbon credits closer to destinations served by the two airlines.
Cathay Pacific’s Head of Environmental Affairs Mark Watson commented: “We are committed to exploring new ways of increasing the awareness surrounding climate change and passenger participation in our FLY greener programme.”
The new project portfolio consists of a set of 95 small ‘run-of-river’ hydropower stations in Chongqing, Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces that link the electricity generated into the Pearl River Delta region; a group of 23 wind turbines in Shandong; and a ‘run-of-river’ hydropower project in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong – the first time the airlines have collaborated on a project in Hong Kong’s neighbouring province.
The projects were chosen for added social and environmental benefits such as reducing local air pollution, enhancing the productivity of local farms and providing power and jobs to local communities. The airlines say they have all been verified in accordance with the international Voluntary Carbon Standard and rigorously tested to ensure they produce real, quantifiable and permanent reductions in carbon emissions.
“One of our key missions is to support Hong Kong and we are pleased that the Guangdong project is bringing sustainability benefits to the town of Lankou,” said Watson. “Our latest purchase of carbon offsets underscores our ongoing commitment to offset emissions from our flights and to provide an opportunity for our passengers to play their part in reducing their carbon footprint.”
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair were the first Asian airlines to introduce a carbon offset programme, offering the offsets on a non-profit basis to passengers.