The aviation sector accounts for a significant portion of global CO2 emissions, estimated to be approximately 2%. As individual consumer choices can have a notable impact on these emissions, it is important to consider the environmental impact of air travel.
While sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and electric aviation are potential solutions to reducing the environmental impact of aviation, carbon offsetting is considered to be the best short-term solution due to its cost-effectiveness and availability.
However, while SAFs hold promise as a mid-term solution, they are currently too expensive and have too low usage to yield substantial emission reductions at scale. Electric aviation offers the potential for zero direct emissions in the long-term, but this will require major advancements in energy storage technology, aircraft design and is currently not commercially viable.
At the same time, climate change remains a major global challenge, and the Paris Agreement aims to mitigate its impact through reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The aviation industry's contribution to these emissions, while relatively small on a global scale, is still significant due to the large number of people with the means to travel by air. It is in society's interest to find a sustainable solution to this challenge while balancing the benefits that air travel provides.
Carbon offsetting aims to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions on a systemic level, and policy tools such as the EU ETS for intra-EU flights, carbon taxes and flat seat taxes in various nations are being implemented to encourage the aviation industry to take action to reduce emissions.
Airlines and online travel agencies are taking proactive measures to reduce their carbon footprints and to analyze their approach to carbon offsetting, we can categorize them into four main groups:
No Offsets Implemented: An airline/OTA does not participate in carbon offsetting in any capacity.
Plans to Implement Voluntary Offsets: An airline/OTA does not currently participate in carbon offsetting, but has stated its intention to do so in the future. There is no formal commitment to this plan, but there is a clear ambition to engage in carbon offsetting.
Voluntary Offsets Available: An airline/OTA offers its customers the option to offset their carbon emissions through a carbon offset program that is linked to their booking process or during the check-out process. This typically involves an emission calculation tool.
Compensates for All or a Portion of Passengers: An airline/OTA acquires carbon offsets for their flights, but does not pass the cost of these offsets onto the passengers. The airline may choose to offset all their flights, all their bonus program passengers, or all of their passengers.
While some airlines and OTAs are proactively addressing the problem, others are not or are planning to, leaving a lot of room for improvement in the sector.
This creates numerous business opportunities for C3 and its suite of offsetting tools.
The aviation industry's attitude towards carbon offsetting is evolving in response to increasing sustainability trends. While it is currently not feasible to significantly reduce gross emissions from aviation, effective programs such as CORSIA, which requires airlines to offset emissions exceeding the 2019 baseline, have led to a steady increase in demand for carbon offsets year by year.
At C3, we are dedicated to promoting sustainability also within the aviation industry.
We believe that the aviation sector can play a significant role in reducing its carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change. With this in mind, we are developing a set of carbon offsetting tools that can be integrated directly into airlines/OTA websites. These tools will allow airlines and travelers to offset the carbon emissions generated by their flights in a more streamlined and efficient manner.
We believe that by making offsetting more transparent and convenient, we can encourage wider adoption and help the aviation industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Our tools are designed to be user-friendly and easy to integrate, making it simple for airlines and OTAs to offer offsetting options to their customers or or directly offset their own emissions.