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What is carbon offsetting?

There is no alternative to aviation when it comes to long distance and low carbon travel. Carbon offsetting is a way to “compensate” a proportion of an aircraft’s carbon emissions on a particular journey by investing in carbon reduction projects elsewhere. It is important to note that carbon offsetting does not negate or prevent the emissions from the flight itself. Offsetting does, however, allow to support decarbonization projects which are valuable ways of capturing CO2 or preventing CO2 from being emitted elsewhere.

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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)