UK budget carrier Easyjet, has committed to offset their carbon emissions throughout their whole network with immediate effect, by investing in projects to compensate for the CO2 emitted from their flights. In this, it claims a leading role when it comes to committing to reducing climate change, while positioning itself as the first major airline to become a net-zero carbon emitter.
In order to achieve its target, the company will invest in planting new trees as well as stopping deforestation in South America, installing solar panels in India and investing in renewable energies, among others.
Although the carbon offset program is estimated at about £35m per year, “the cost of your flight will not be impacted by our efforts to reduce carbon emissions”, the company said in a statement.
The initiatives above follow a trend in which competitors have already been involved.
For instance, British Airways said it will offset carbon emissions on domestic flights starting next year, while IAG as a whole committed to Easyjet’s same goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Finnair and some partners within the Lufthansa Group, on the contrary, offer programs to their customers to do so while booking online.
Simultaneously, KLM is known for heavily investing in biofuel.
In opposition, criticism has been raised hinting the commercial purpose (Greenwash) of the announcement.
Moreover, The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) has also warned “carbon offsetting is unlikely to deliver the reductions promised”.
Remarkably, even investors have questioned the legitimacy of such practices: i.e. “the contribution of a tree through a typical lifespan of 40 years would struggle to offset just one business class long-haul flight”, said a team of Citigroup.
Let’s not forget direct emissions from the aviation industry account for 2.5% of global emissions.
To this, the Chief Executive of the company, Johan Lundgren, recognized that “even if Easyjet could benefit commercially from its flights being less detrimental the environment than others, it is the right thing to do”. He has also stressed their recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus to create a joint-venture aiming to define an optimal scenario for hybrid- and full-electric aircraft across Europe.
It will also continue its support to its American partner Wright Electric to produce an all-electric aircraft.
Both promises come after reporting a 26% fall in profit to £427m last year (though still meeting expectations), increasing its A320neo orders during the Dubai Airshow and expressing its expansion plans by entering the holiday market, following the collapse of Thomas Cook.