January 29, 2020News
The UK's biggest airport, Heathrow, partners with climate company CHOOOSE to make flight offsetting available for its 80 million annual travelers.
Heathrow is set to become one of the first major airports in the world to go carbon neutral, a milestone in the airport’s journey to zero carbon. Following £100 million in investments to decarbonize the airport, including switching to 100% renewable electricity and electric vehicles, Heathrow will now also offset the remaining emissions through independently verified schemes.
A new Flight Footprint Calculator which is now accessible from Heathrow.com enables passengers to easily calculate and offset the carbon footprint of their journey. The program supports a reforestation program in Uganda, certified by the Verified Carbon Standard, and a wind farm in Costa Rica, certified by the Gold Standard. These projects help to address climate change by removing and reducing carbon emissions, respectively.
“We are proud to be partnering with CHOOOSE to make this impactful offsetting choice available to passengers, regardless of what airline they are traveling with. This service will be available online while we also work on a plan to trial offsetting kiosks in our terminals”, says Heathrow Director of Sustainability, Matt Gorman.
Heathrow is the second busiest airport in the world, as well as the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic. It is Britain's hub airport, connecting passengers from across the globe with towns and cities across the UK. In 2019, it handled over 80 million passengers.
“Research shows that a majority of travelers would now pay a premium to offset their carbon footprint when flying. We believe that legacy offsetting services have failed to work with brands to deliver on this demand, nor connect with modern travelers. CHOOOSE has partnered with Heathrow to integrate consumer offsetting as-a-service, all through a positive, traveler-first lens”, says CEO of CHOOOSE, Andreas Slettvoll.
Decarbonizing the entire aviation industry is a priority and the aviation industry has shown it is possible. Since 2005, while UK passenger numbers have grown by 25%, there has also been a 3% reduction in carbon emissions. Heathrow believes a further, more significant reduction is possible through a combination of short-term and long-term solutions, including investment in offsetting measures and carbon capture, as well as scaling up the production of sustainable alternative fuels and accelerating the arrival of new electric aircraft technology.
“We are on a journey to becoming a zero-carbon airport by the mid-2030s, having already invested more than £100 million to improve sustainability and remove 90% of carbon from our infrastructure on the ground,” says Heathrow Director of Sustainability, Matt Gorman.
Thanks to these investments, Heathrow now operates one of the UK's biggest commercial electric vehicle fleets and charging networks, offers improved public transport routes into the airport, including a free travel zone, and powers all of its terminals with renewable electricity. The airport is also investing in the restoration of UK natural carbon sinks, including peatlands and woodlands, with the goal to stimulate the carbon removal market for Britain. It aims to become zero-carbon as quickly as possible.
“We are honored to take part in Heathrow's journey towards a low carbon aviation future, and we're hopeful that other large aviation organizations will take similar steps in reducing their emissions on a local level and enabling their travelers to understand and address the carbon footprint of their journeys”, says CEO of CHOOOSE, Andreas Slettvoll.
Calculate and offset your flight’s footprint here.