Virgin Atlantic has partnered with climate and sustainable development expert ClimateCare to launch a calculator to help passengers measure and offset the carbon emissions associated with their flights.

The carbon offset calculator will allow Virgin Atlantic customers to offset their footprint through ClimateCare’s trademark Climate+Care projects, which are designed to cut carbon and improve people’s lives. They will then receive a certificate to show their emissions have been offset and are encouraged to share their actions through social media to influence others to take part.

Projects supported by the programme include clean cooking technology in the developing world, where ClimateCare says more than 3 billion people still cook on open fires. Reducing the use of flames helps to cut CO2 emissions and the risk of people being exposed to toxic fumes.

Kathryn Asplin, sustainability specialist at Virgin Atlantic, commented: “As an airline, fuel and carbon efficiency are our number one environmental priority. To reduce emissions, we’re invested in new, fuel-efficient aircraft for our fleet, as well as reducing weight on board and improving our operational procedures to fly more efficiently. We also want to make it easy for customers to contribute to carbon reduction projects and are working with the experts at ClimateCare to make that a reality.”

Robert Stevens, head of partnerships at ClimateCare, added: “This is just the start of our work together and we look forward to working with Virgin Atlantic to develop the programme over time.”

Virgin Atlantic joins a number of airlines attempting to reduce their environmental impact, including transatlantic partner Delta, which is reducing the presence of single-use plastics on its flights. All Nippon Airways (ANA) struck a deal with Show Shell Sekiyu KK to purchase 70,000 US gallons of sustainable aviation fuel, while Easyjet is working with Wright Electric to develop electric aircraft.

Meanwhile, Qantas recently operated its first ‘waste-free’ flight in which it used alternative products to create zero landfill waste and Austrian Airlines is using plastic cups to create synthetic crude.

A recent report for the European Commission showed that introducing an aviation fuel tax in Europe would cut the airline industry’s emissions by 11 per cent without impacting jobs or the economy.

virginatlantic.com; climatecare.org

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