The Qantas Group has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, joining the likes of British Airways owner International Airlines Group (International Airlines Group - the parent company of British Airways and Spain's Iberia which was created by the merger of the two carriers in 2010).
From today, the carrier will double the number of flights offset by matching every dollar spent by customers who choose to fly carbon neutral. The money will be used for environmental projects such as protecting the Great Barrier Reef, working with Indigenous communities to reduce wildfires in western Australia and securing more than 7,000 hectares of native Tasmanian forest.
In addition, Qantas will invest AU$50 million over ten years to aid in the development of sustainable aviation fuel. It will also continue updating its fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft such as new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, adjusting operations to reduce emissions and creating more efficient flight plans to reduce fuel burn.
The group is now the second worldwide to set a net zero target of 2050 after IAG committed to a similar goal in October.
Qantas has also committed to capping net emissions from 2020 onwards. It claims to be the only group to take such a measure, which will be achieved by offsetting all growth in emissions from domestic and international operations by Qantas, Jetstar, QantasLink and Qantas Freight.
The move includes net emissions from Project Sunrise, the airline’s plan to operate direct flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York.
According to Qantas, the aviation industry as a whole, which contributes around 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions, has committed to halving emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.
Group CEO Alan Joyce commented: “We recognise that airlines have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change. We’ve already made some good progress, especially by investing in newer aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint. We want to do more, and faster…
“Qantas offsets all of its own travel needs and so do many of our customers. By matching their efforts, we’re hoping it will encourage even more people to offset and the programme will keep growing.
“These short-term actions will go towards a longer-term goal of being completely net carbon neutral by 2050. It’s ambitious, but achievable.”
Joyce added: “Concerns about emissions and climate change are real, but we can’t lose sight of the contribution that air travel makes to society and the economy. The industry has already come a long way in cutting its footprint and the solution from here isn’t to simply ‘fly less’ but to make it more sustainable. We’re doing this because it’s the responsible thing to do, but hopefully it will also encourage more people to choose Qantas and Jetstar because of the action we’re taking.”
Qantas Group has outlined its net zero strategy here