The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group, which includes low-cost carrier Scoot, has launched a voluntary carbon offset programme that allows passenger and cargo customers to offset emissions at any time before or after a flight through dedicated microsites. The two carriers will match the offsets purchased for the first six months from the launch of the programme. SIA Cargo customers will be able to offset their carbon emissions on a dedicated microsite from late July and corporate customers are expected to participate in the programme from the fourth quarter of 2021. SIA customers can use KrisFlyer miles and HighFlyer points to offset their emissions from later this year. Contributions will help support verified carbon offset projects in Asia that include the protection of native forests in Indonesia, renewable solar energy in India and clean burning cookstoves for rural families in Nepal. The offsets will be provided via the BlueHalo digital solution developed by Australia-based Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM), which allows customers to immediately calculate and offset the emissions of their journey.
“Through the SIA Group’s voluntary carbon offset programme, our customers now have an opportunity to offset their emissions through accredited projects that provide clear benefits to people and the planet. Matching their offsets is our ways of encouraging our customers to fly carbon neutral,” said Lee Wen Fen, SVP Corporate Planning, Singapore Airlines.
In May, the Group committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (see article) through investments in new-generation aircraft, higher operational efficiency and low-carbon technology such as sustainable aviation fuels. Beyond reducing direct emissions, it says high-quality carbon offsets can play an important and complementary role, pointing to its participation in ICAO’s CORSIA carbon offsetting scheme for capping international aviation emissions at 2019 levels and projected to run until 2035.
“While offsetting is particularly important in the mid-term, it is also expected to remain relevant in the long run to mitigate residual emissions,” says the airline group.
According to the SIA carbon offsetting microsite, the cost of offsetting a calculated 1.68 tonnes of emissions from return economy flights between Singapore and London would be 21.86 Singapore Dollars (US$16.26). Calculated emissions of 4.88 tonnes for a return business class flight between the two cities would push up the offsetting cost to 85.28 Singapore Dollars (US$63.43).
The Katingan Mentaya Project in Indonesia, said to be the world’s largest emission reduction forest project, protects vital peatland from destruction and preventing the release of emissions stored within the forests. It also secures habitat for five critically endangered species including the Bornean Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey and the Southern Bornean Gibbon. In partnership with 34 local villages, the project builds community capacity and sustainable development through employment and education. The project claims over 7.5 million tonnes of GHG emissions are prevented each year and employs more than 500 local people. The solar energy projects across India produce renewable electricity where power would otherwise be generated by a fossil-fuel power plant, preventing over 815,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year. The Nepalese projects have distributed to families over 47,000 clean burning cookstoves, which reduce smoke pollution and the associated health risks while reducing carbon emissions because they require less firewood. Over 50,000 tonnes of GHG emissions are prevented each year.
TEM is Australia’s largest carbon offset provider and its BlueHalo Journey API-driven software enables travel and transport businesses to integrate offsetting into the online booking system. In 2014, Qantas and TEM co-developed the Qantas Future Planet programme that provides a carbon offsetting solution for corporate businesses, with more than 40 joining since inception. Last September, Australian online travel agency Webjet launched its Sustainable Traveller programme using TEM’s BlueHalo technology.
Commenting on the SIA launch, TEM CEO Peter Castellas said: “Empowering customers to take action on climate change by offsetting their emissions is an imperative in the way we will be returning to travel. We are thrilled to partner with a powerful global airline to make a positive impact on people and the planet.”
Photo: Singapore Airlines