15 April 2021

GreenAir News

Reporting on aviation and the environment

IATA’s Aviation Carbon Exchange sees first private aviation trade as 4AIR buys 15,000 carbon offsets

Boston-based 4AIR has become the first private aviation stakeholder to make a trade on IATA’s Aviation Carbon Exchange, the platform for airlines and aircraft operators to trade carbon offsets to reduce their CO2 emissions or meet obligations under ICAO’s CORSIA international offsetting scheme. The transaction was made with environmental commodity company ClimeCo to purchase offsets on behalf of 4AIR client PrivateFly to help the charter and jet card provider meet an offsetting commitment in relation to its 2020 operations. The 15,000 offsets purchased will support a renewable energy project in India that generates enough solar energy to displace more than 1.5 MWh of electricity annually. 4AIR operates a rating programme that allows anyone in private aviation – from companies and individuals who own aircraft, fractional shares or jet cards to those who charter flights – to reduce their carbon footprint. As a Silver Member of the programme, PrivateFly will offset emissions from its operations and all flights in 2021 at 300% of its carbon footprint to account for both CO2 emissions and non-CO2 pollutants.

The Aviation Carbon Exchange was developed by IATA and Xpansiv CBL Holding Group and integrates CBL Markets’ trading platform with IATA’s settlement systems. The exchange is open to all IATA and non-IATA airlines and aircraft operators, and accessible to carbon market participants wanting to list emission reductions that are CORSIA compliant, as well as for voluntary offsetting purposes.

“Energy consumption is the biggest source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. By investing in carbon offset projects, the transition from fossil fuels to clean sources of energy becomes more attainable,” commented Michael Schneider, IATA’s Assistant Director, Aviation Environment. “We are pleased that 4AIR is participating in the Aviation Carbon Exchange, enabling business aviation companies from all over the world to do their part in supporting sustainability within the aviation industry.”

Added Rene Velasquez, CBL’s Head of Global Carbon Markets: “This first-trade announcement is proof of broad support for decarbonisation across the aviation spectrum. In addition to aviation’s effort to reduce emissions by investing in the latest aircraft technology and by improving operational fuel efficiency, the Aviation Carbon Exchange provides a clear, intuitive path to address aviation’s environmental impact.”

Said Kennedy Ricci, 4AIR’s President: “The Aviation Carbon Exchange is a phenomenal step for increased transparency and simplicity in the process of acquiring carbon offsets. 4AIR is uniquely positioned to aggregate private flight hours from users and operators all over the world to buy offsets on the Aviation Carbon Exchange at a larger scale. We can help the private aviation community support verified projects worldwide, making it easy for them to meet sustainability goals.”

4AIR formally launched in January having been incubated by business aviation and investment company Directional Aviation. Through a rating system, it seeks to provide a solution to address climate impacts from private aviation. A company or individual makes a commitment to a specific level of the 4AIR framework and can be applied to existing sustainability efforts or offered as a turnkey full-service programme.

The framework has benchmarks that are aligned with industry-wide goals and consistent with international standards, says4AIR, with four levels each with specific, science-based goals, independently verified results and progressively greater impacts on sustainability:

  • Bronze: Carbon-Neutral – Allows participants to be carbon neutral by offsetting all CO2 emissions with verified carbon offset credits.
  • Silver: Emissions-Neutral – 4AIR measures two-thirds of an aircraft’s environmental impact comes from non-CO2 warming pollutants so a 3x multiplier is applied to the carbon emissions required to be offset.
  • Gold: Emissions Reduction – Allows participants to go beyond emissions neutrality to actually reducing emissions by at least 5% through solutions such as operational improvements, low-emitting aircraft and the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Platinum: Climate Champion – Allows participants to support new technology in aviation with a contribution to the Aviation Climate Fund, a nonprofit aimed at supporting R&D in aviation sustainability, with contributions based on the participant’s carbon footprint.

Participants earn a 4AIR rating by making a commitment to a specific level. At the end of each year, 4AIR certifies the accomplishment of each company or individual based upon relevant flight data, such as actual fuel consumption, in order to audit the previous year’s commitment and retire final carbon offset credits earned, and those that achieve or surpass the level they had committed to would be eligible for the coming year.

All carbon credits are quantified and verified by leading bodies including Verified Carbon Standard (Verra), American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve and The Gold Standard.

Last month, 4AIR announced it would be providing carbon-neutral validation of Clay Lacy Aviation facilities for 2020, as well as offering a sustainability rating to the company’s aircraft.

“4AIR starts where other environmental programmes end – with carbon neutrality – and continues on up to emission reductions and supporting the future of environmentally-friendly aviation,” said Ricci. “We don’t want to merely neutralise the impact of private aviation but instead make it part of the solution for long-term sustainability.”

Nancy Bsales, 4AIR’s Chief Operating Officer, who has previous experience with Rocky Mountain Institute and The Good Traveler passenger carbon offsetting initiative founded by San Diego International Airport, said: “Aviation directly represents 2% of global CO2 emissions but the true impact on climate is closer to 5% when considering all emissions and non-CO2 impacts. The industry has made sweeping commitments to sustainability by 2050 and 4AIR’s programmes can help private aviation participants to do their part.”

Photo: 4AIR