Heathrow Airport launches flight offsetting tool for passengers
Passengers on flights to and from Heathrow Airport now have the option to offset the emissions of their journeys, after Heathrow.com announced a new partnership with the CHOOOSE 'climate streaming service' offsetting platform.
A new Flight Footprint Calculator can be accessed via the Heathrow website that enables passengers to offset the carbon emissions associated with their journey. The CHOOSE platform will then support reforestation programmes in Uganda, which is certified by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the development of a wind farm in Costa Rica, certified by the Gold Standard.
“We are proud to be partnering with CHOOOSE to make this impactful offsetting choice available to passengers, regardless of what airline they are travelling with. This service will be available online while we also work on a plan to trial offsetting kiosks in our terminals,” Heathrow’s director of sustainability, Matt Gorman said.
“We are on a journey to becoming a zero-carbon airport by the mid-2030s, having already invested more than £100m to improve sustainability and remove 90% of carbon from our infrastructure on the ground.”
In 2019, Heathrow had around 80 million passengers board flights at the airport and is currently awaiting a ruling from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the costs of its controversial expansion. Legal cases that the expansion should be cancelled over climate concerns have been dismissed by the High Court.
Heathrow Airport has claimed that it is "on-track" to meet its flagship ambition of becoming a "carbon-neutral" facility by 2020 and achieving net-zero carbon status for its planned expansion, after increasing its investments in renewable power and beginning peatland restoration last year.
Heathrow switched to renewable gas for heating in Terminal 2 last year, following its airport-wide switch to 100% renewable electricity in 2017. This has made Terminal 2 the company’s first building to be powered with 100% clean heat and electricity.
The airport has also forayed into peatland restoration, which the firm has always touted as a key component of Heathrow 2.0 – its sustainability strategy for carbon-neutral expansion. The company partnered with Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Defra on its first peatland restoration project last autumn, with the sustainability report revealing that a total of 70 hectares of the habitat are set to be restored under the scheme.
“Research shows that a majority of travellers 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 travellers. CHOOOSE has partnered with Heathrow to integrate consumer offsetting as-a-service, all through a positive, traveller-first lens,” CHOOSE’s chief executive Andreas Slettvoll said.
At the start of January, British Airways began offsetting all emissions generated through domestic flights within the UK, at no additional cost to passengers.
The likes of Qantas and easyJet announced large-scale offsetting schemes last year amid a backdrop of climate strikes, whereby key figures in the environmental movement such as Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough have promoted the “flight-shaming” conversation.
Indeed, several NGOs offering carbon offsetting have reported a fourfold increase in investment over the past two years.