Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways launches region's first aircraft carbon offset programme
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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways launches region’s first aircraft carbon offset programme

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways launches region’s first aircraft carbon offset programme

The initiative is the airline’s attempt to reduce 2019 CO2 emission levels to 50 per cent by 2035

UAE-based Etihad Airways has committed to purchasing carbon offsets, to completely neutralise the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” 787-10 aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021.

Separately, the airline will implement an additional voluntary offset programme for passengers via its website in 2021.

The initiative is the airline’s attempt to reduce 2019 CO2 emission levels to 50 per cent by 2035 and to achieve full net zero emissions by 2050.

Etihad’s Greenliner carbon offset programme has been sourced in partnership with Respira, an international carbon offset finance house. Etihad’s plan is focused on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.

The Makame Savannah REDD project – developed by Carbon Tanzania – uses a community-based model to curb deforestation and promote better management of local natural resources across over 100,000 hectares in the extension of the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.

The offset scheme is verified and certified by VERRA, an independent carbon offset quality assurance body. This ensures carbon offsets are quantifiable and fully sustainable. In addition, the Tanzanian project conforms to climate, community and biodiversity standards, which protect endangered species and local communities.

Tony Douglas, Etihad Aviation Group CEO, said: “It’s encouraging to end a difficult year with such a positive move for the sustainable future of aviation. While the year brought many challenges, sustainability has remained at the top of our agenda, and the work hasn’t stopped. Expect to see more ground-breaking initiatives in 2021, as we learn the environmental lessons from initiatives with our Greenliner fleet and other sustainability initiatives.”

The launch of the Greenliner carbon offset programme complements Etihad’s ongoing work to develop and test sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).

“Respira offers a fresh approach to the carbon market by aligning the interests of project developers, buyers and capital providers,” said Ana Haurie, CEO of Respira.

“In this way we create win-win outcomes for all stakeholders. It is a privilege to work with Etihad, which has shown real commitment to its sustainability goals through what is a challenging period for the airline industry.”

Respira will establish operations at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the capital emirate’s international financial centre, to bring its offset expertise to the Middle East.

In October this year, Etihad Airways issued a $600m sukuk linked to its carbon reduction targets.

Read: UAE’s Etihad issues $600m sustainability-linked sukuk

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