Thai Airways becomes first Asia-Pacific airline to join IATA passenger carbon offset programme
Mon 17 Aug 2009 – Thai Airways International has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide its passengers with the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions of their flight. It becomes the first airline in the Asia-Pacific region to join the programme, which was launched in June with two other airlines, TAP Portugal and Qatar Airways, already having signed up. The IATA-administered industry-wide scheme is a ready-made tool enabling airlines to offer their passengers the ability to contribute towards carbon reduction projects in developing countries when making their flight reservations.
The programme calculates carbon emissions based on methodology developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and utilizes IATA’s $350 billion financial systems. IATA administers the process on behalf of airlines and advises on project selection, arranges the purchase of carbon credits and manages and provides offset tracking.
The passenger’s contribution goes entirely towards sponsored projects. IATA says that transparency is critical in ensuring that monies collected result in reduced emissions, and the programme has been independently approved by the UK’s carbon offset quality assurance scheme. The UK scheme allows both IATA and TAP to use a ‘kitemark’ on their websites and promotional material.
Only UN-approved Certified Emissions Reductions (CER) projects and voluntary credits which comply with the recognized Gold or Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) will be invested in through the programme. The UK scheme currently only allows approved members to invest in CER projects, but IATA says the scheme is considering the acceptance of high-quality VERs (VCS) in the near future.
According to Narongsak Sangapong, Thai Airways’ Senior Executive Vice President – Corporate Secretariat and Acting President, the airline will work with IATA to implement the programme into its existing web sales structure and to identify the offset projects that will benefit from this initiative. Passengers will be provided with information on the amount of CO2 emitted for their flight, the cost of offsetting it and the project where the money is to be invested.
IATA is looking to have around 14 airlines in the programme by the end of the year.