First industry-wide program offers transparency and credible projects

Kuala Lumpur - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched its global Carbon Offset Program with TAP. The IATA-administered industry-wide scheme is a ready-made tool enabling airlines to offer their passengers the ability to compensate for their carbon emissions with contributions towards carbon reduction projects in developing countries.

“I am delighted that TAP is the launch airline for the IATA carbon offset program,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The air transport industry is committed to environmental responsibility with a comprehensive four-pillar strategy including improved technology, effective infrastructure, efficient operations and positive economic measures. “The IATA Carbon Offset Program sets a good example of industry leadership in economic measures. The industry standard approach is a cost-effective means for all airlines to offer their customers the option to offset emissions resulting from their air travel,” said Bisignani.

Transparency is critical to ensure that monies collected result in reduced emissions. The IATA Carbon Offset Program only invests in the most credible projects. These are UN approved Certified Emissions Reductions (CER) projects and voluntary credits which comply with the recognised Gold and or Voluntary Carbon Standards. Airlines participating in the IATA Carbon Offset Program pay for all administration costs. The passenger contribution therefore goes to the sponsored project.

“These are important reassurances that will help build passenger confidence in carbon offsets,” said Bisignani.

The IATA program calculates carbon emissions based on a methodology developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The system utilises the efficiencies and reliability of IATA’s US$350 billion financial systems to enable airlines and their passengers to purchase their ticket and their offset at the same time. IATA administers the process on behalf of airlines. This includes advising on project selection, arranging the purchase of carbon credits and managing and providing offset tracking.

Fernando Pinto, CEO of TAP, said, “We at TAP are deeply concerned about the environment and feel it is our responsibility to summon up all possible energies and resources to preserve it and protect our planet. Therefore, we are enthusiastic to be the launch airline for the IATA carbon offset program. With it, we will be able to offer our customers the option to offset their emissions by saving an equivalent amount of CO2 with high quality projects. Offsetting is not a cure for climate change. But it is a responsible measure until technology can make us carbon-free. It is a voluntary scheme, but we are confident that it will be popular with our passengers as we believe that the protection of the planet is everybody’s concern.”

The offset project chosen by TAP is a renewable energy project in Brazil: the Aquarius Hydroelectric Project. Aquarius is a grid-connected run-of-river hydropower plant. It partly replaces fossil fuel-based electricity generation and already reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 15,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year.


Corporate Communications, IATA
Tel: +41 22 770 2967


Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.
  • The Aquarius Hydroelectric Project is located at Itiquira in the Mato Grosso State in Brazil. Aquarius is a small-scale, renewable energy project. The project is a grid-connected run-of-river hydropower plant (with no dam or flooding). It is registered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The project has an installed capacity of 4.2 MW and utilises the water of the Correntes River. It partly replaces fossil fuel-based electricity generation and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 15,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year. The independent verification report confirmed that, in the period between 15 December 2006 and 31 December 2007, the project reduced emissions by 19,024 tonnes CO2 equivalent.