Keeping the blue sky green
Air transport as a whole represents just 2% of global carbon emissions. The industry is committed to achieving carbon-neutral growth by 2020 and reducing 50% in net emissions by 2050. To support it, IATA has developed the 4-pillar strategy to reduce aviation carbon emissions by investing in technology, improving operational efficiency, building and using efficient infrastructure, and providing incentives through a positive economic instrument.
Air cargo already compares favorably with other transport modes: maritime shipping accounts for about 4% of global carbon emissions. The air freight sector has an enormous role to play if aviation is to meet its environmental targets.
Air cargo carbon footprint
The IATA Cargo Services Conference adopted the new Recommended Practice 1678 for “CO2 Emissions Measurement Methodology” (pdf) on 9 March 2014. Developed by the IATA Air Cargo Carbon Footprint (ACCF) working group, the document establishes a methodology to measure the CO2 emissions generated by air cargo at shipment level.
Having one common international standard for air cargo was a requirement from airlines themselves and from the freight forwarding community, shippers and regulators. This Recommended Practice will help the industry players to “speak the same language” and is in line with the measurement methodology developed in 2008 by ICAO for passenger air travel.
The next steps are now to seek for global adoption, recognition and alignment by engaging ICAO, regulators and relevant industry groups such as GACAG, COFRET, the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC), the Airfreight Carbon Initiative, etc.
Despite the turbulent economic times, there is a genuine desire among the whole air freight supply chain to be greener. One part of IATA Green Cargo initiatives is to share and promote best practices:
- Lighter Unit Load Devices (ULD)
- Containers for the transportation of pharmaceutical goods made of recycled materials
- Recyclable plastic covers for cargo pallets