There is no alternative to aviation when it comes to long distance and low carbon travel. Carbon offsetting can therefore be seen as an immediate, direct and pragmatic means to encourage action to limit climate change impacts, at least in the short-term.

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is simply a way for individuals or organizations, in this case airline passengers and corporate customers, to “neutralize” their proportion of an aircraft’s carbon emissions on a particular journey by investing in carbon reduction projects.

Voluntary passenger and cargo offset programs

Over 50 airlines have introduced an offset program either integrated into their web-sales engines or to a third-party offset provider. These programs are aimed at passengers and companies that wish to understand the CO2 impact from flying, and who want to be directly contributing to carbon offset projects in different parts of the world, while reducing their impact from flying.

There are many ways to achieve CO2 reductions that can be used as offsets, many of which bring other social, environmental, or economic benefits and support many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Offsets can be sourced from various types of project activities, including, for example, wind energy, clean cook stoves, methane capture forestry and other emissions-reducing, avoidance, or removal projects.

Carbon offsetting can be effective to meet mandatory and voluntary commitments, whereby a mandatory scheme such as CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) is needed to address carbon-neutral growth of the aviation industry. Under CORSIA airlines investing in high-quality carbon offsets that meet the stringent environmental integrity criteria developed under ICAO.

> Carbon Offset Program guidelines (pdf)