easyJet is to offer its customers the opportunity to offset the carbon
emissions of their flights by investing exclusively in United Nations-certified
projects. easyJet is already one of Europe’s most environmentally efficient airlines and
operates one of the most modern fleets of any major airline in Europe consisting of
137 of the cleanest, quietest aircraft available with an average age of just 2.3
years. easyJet’s efficient business model (higher seat densities and higher load
factors) means that traditional airlines emit nearly 27% more emissions per
passenger kilometre than easyJet flying the same aircraft on similar routes.
Whilst the Stern Report confirmed that aviation only accounts for 1.6% of global
greenhouse gas emissions, easyJet recognises that airlines have to face up to the
challenge of climate change. For carriers that already operate with the highest
level of efficiency, carbon offsetting is an excellent additional measure that can
help towards taking flying out of the emissions equation.
The airline is committed to making the easyJet Carbon Offsetting (“ECO”) scheme the
most transparent, trustworthy and efficient of any existing scheme by any airline in
The company will initially use all funds contributed by its passengers to buy carbon
credits from the Perlabi Hydroelectric Project in Ecuador, which has undergone
extensive environmental auditing and has subsequently been certified by the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The scope of the ECO scheme will later be extended to other United Nations-certified
programmes. Such carbon reduction schemes are recognised as Clean Development
Mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol.
By buying credits exclusively and directly from UN-backed projects, the ECO scheme
will ensure that the offset is of the highest quality and that passengers’
contribution will reach the projects without wasting money unnecessarily on
easyJet has reduced the administrative costs from around 25% for comparable projects
to just 5% with a view to reducing it further, making the ECO scheme the most
efficient of its kind. This has been achieved by cutting out the middle man and
buying credits directly from a project participant.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:
“If we are going to be successful in tackling climate change, everyone—
government, businesses and individuals—must play a part. And while carbon
offsetting isn’t the solution to climate change, it has an important role to play.
“That’s why easyJet’s new offsetting scheme is a really positive step forward. We
particularly welcome its exemplary decision to use only certified offset credits
that meet Kyoto standards, meaning that its customers can be sure that the carbon
reductions are real, clear and accountable. These are the same kind of credits the
Government uses to offset its emissions from air travel and is in line with the
standard we aim to set through the Government’s upcoming Code of Best Practice for
offsetting products and will give consumers the clarity they want when offsetting.”
Andy Harrison, easyJet Chief Executive, commented:
“For people who care about the environment and want to fly greener, easyJet is the
right choice. Carbon offsetting can never be a substitute for environmental
efficiency, but for easyJet as one of the most efficient airlines in the world, it
is a big step towards minimising our environmental impact further.”
“When it comes to carbon offsetting, it is not important to be the first, but to get
it right the first time. People will only support it if they know where their money
goes and that it really makes a difference.”
“We have therefore, in true easyJet style, cut out the middle man and will use all
funds to buy carbon credits from United Nations-certified projects. UN-backed
projects are the best possible way of ensuring that the offset is real.”
“While other airlines are hiding their offsetting schemes on obscure parts of their
website, easyJet has made it part of the booking process, so that every passenger
can make a conscious decision.”
How the scheme works
The easyJet carbon offsetting (“ECO”) scheme will be available to all customers as
of today. The easyJet Carbon Calculator will calculate every passenger’s emissions
in a reliable and robust way, based on sector length, load factor and fuel burn. The
airline expects the average contribution for a return journey to be around £3. This
sum is added to the cost of the flights and paid for in one single transaction.
easyJet will initially invest the money contributed by its passengers to buy CO2
emission credits from the Perlabi Hydroelectric Project in Ecuador. Citigroup, a
leading financial services provider and a prospective project participant, will sell
the credits from the Perlabi Hydroelectric Project directly to easyJet.
easyJet agrees with the concern of the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee
that airlines often hide offsetting away. easyJet, as one of only a few airlines in
Europe, will therefore give each passenger the choice to offset the CO2 emissions of
his or her flight as part of the booking process.
easyJet furthermore believes that other airlines should offer calculators that are
as open and transparent as ours, and that this is the only way that consumers can
have confidence in properly assessing the impact of their flying.
The 5% fee which is added to the cost of offsetting is for administration only and
easyJet will not profit from it.