Keeping the blue sky green
The air freight sector has an enormous role to play if aviation is to meet its environmental targets.
Air cargo already compares favorably with other transport modes. Maritime shipping accounts for about 4% of global carbon emissions. Air transport as a whole represents just 2% of global carbon emissions and the industry is committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and reducing 50% in net emissions by 2050.
Cargo carbon emissions measurement and reporting
The industry (airlines, the freight forwarding community, shippers and regulators) is showing a growing interest to look at the carbon footprint generated by air freight. But today, there is no common methodology to measure the CO2 emissions generated by air freight.
“We are aiming to obtain harmonized cargo carbon emissions measurements and reporting for the industry” said Des Vertannes, Global Head of IATA Cargo, on 12 March 2013.
To address this first challenge, IATA developed the following action plan:
- Set-up the Air Cargo Carbon Footprint working group (ACCF) to look at harmonizing calculation methods
- Represent the airlines on relevant initiatives: GACAG Sustainability Task Force, COFRET, Airfreight Carbon Initiative
- Engage and cooperate with relevant groups such as ICAO, BSR Clean Cargo Working Group, Green Freight Europe, EcoTransIT, NTM, etc.
Despite the turbulent economic times, there is a genuine desire amongst the whole air freight supply chain to be greener. One part of IATA Green Cargo initiatives is to share and promote best practices:
- Unit Load Devices (ULD) are going lighter
- Containers for the transportation of pharmaceutical goods can be made of recycled materials
- Plastic covers used on cargo pallets can be recycled