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Green Cargo

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.

Air cargo carbon footprint

A new IATA Recommended Practice for “CO2 Emissions Measurement Methodology” (pdf) has been adopted by Cargo Services Conference on 9 March 2014.

RP1678 has been developed by the IATA Air Cargo Carbon Footprint (ACCF) working group. It 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 RP 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 industry groups such as GACAG, COFRET, Smart Freight Center, Airfreight Carbon Initiative, etc.

Best practices

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

Additional information

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