Environment

CARBON COOL: Air New Zealand and their customers contribute $1m to native forestry offsets

Words by Matt Leedham
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Pic: Rotorua, Tourism Nw Zealand

Air New Zealand’s FlyNeutral programme gives customers the option to offset the carbon emissions associated with their flights when booking online.

Since launching its voluntary carbon offsetting programme in 2016, Air New Zealand and its customers have purchased more than NZD$1 million worth of carbon offsets from permanent New Zealand native forestry projects.

The funds collected all go directly towards the purchase of certified carbon credits, which help to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

But what happens next and why is it important?

Image: Wikipedia

What’s the challenge?

According to some estimates, around 24,000 planes are in use around the world, serving three billion passengers annually.

By 2040, it’s estimated that more than 50,000 planes could be in service, and they are expected to fly further and more often.

The inconvenient truth is that if you’re flying, you’re adding a significant amount of planet-warming gases to the atmosphere. There’s simply no way of getting around it.

The environmental impact of aviation occurs because aircraft engines emit heat, noise, particulates and gases which contribute to climate change and global dimming.

Airplanes emit nasty particles and gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapour, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, lead, and black carbon which interact among themselves and with the atmosphere.

Mount Manaia, Northland, New Zealand

What’s the solution?

After donations from Air New Zealand and their customers, certified carbon credits are then purchased from a range of permanent native forest projects registered with the New Zealand Government under the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, and from a handful of international sustainable energy projects.

The forests are located across New Zealand, from Northland to the Chatham Islands, to Wellington City Council’s outer green belt and Hinewai Reserve on the Banks Peninsula.

Air New Zealand Head of Sustainability Lisa Daniell says she is pleased the airline has been able to provide a platform for customers to take greater responsibility for offsetting carbon emissions as well as support afforestation in New Zealand.

“We’re 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.

Air New Zealand’s A320neo

“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.”

Airlines such as Air New Zealand are introducing newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft into their fleets such as the 787-9, A320neo, A350, B777X and B737MAX aircraft.

Airlines will also continue to refine their operational procedures to minimise fuel use, including a reduction in weight of cabin items and reduction of engine ground running time. All of which contribute to reduced inflight emissions.

Pic: Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

What will the positive impact be?

Permanent Forests NZ Partner Ollie Belton says Air New Zealand’s 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.

“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. It has been great to work with Air New Zealand and landowners to be able to profile and support these projects.” 

Permanent Forests NZ Partner Ollie Belton

The airline’s FlyNeutral voluntary carbon offsetting programme goes above and beyond regulatory obligations for carbon emissions under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, which Air New Zealand itself meets.

Since 2018 Air New Zealand’s corporate and government customers have also been able to offset their carbon emissions under the programme. The airline also offsets emissions on behalf of its employees travelling for work

Find out more: www.airnewzealand.co.nz

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.

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