EasyJet Becomes First Major Carbon Neutral Airline

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Airlines are increasingly talking about the environment. Who knows whether it’s because they actually care, or whether it’s because they think it’s what they need to talk about. Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction.

While airlines have long given customers the option to offset their travels, some airlines are taking it a step further. For example, a few weeks ago British Airways announced that they’d carbon offset all of their domestic flights.

Well, EasyJet has just taken that to the next level…

EasyJet Carbon Offsetting All Flights

EasyJet has announced that they’ve become the first major airline in the world to offset carbon emissions from fuel used for all of their flights.

EasyJet is undertaking this carbon offsetting through schemes accredited by Gold Standard and VCS. This includes contributing towards forestry, renewable, and community based projects.

EasyJet says that carbon offsetting is only an interim measure while new technologies are developed, so the airline will continue supporting the development of hybrid and electric planes, and working towards decarbonizing aviation over the long-term.

Since 2000, EasyJet has reduced carbon emissions for each mile flown by over a third. This is not only thanks to new aircraft technology, but also thanks to introducing light weight carpets, trolleys, and seats, single engine taxiing, and removing paper manuals from aircraft.

They hope to further reduce emissions by 10% between 2016 and 2022.

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said the following about this development:

“Climate change is an issue for all of us. At easyJet we are tackling this challenge head on by choosing to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights starting today. In doing so we are committing to operating net-zero carbon flights across our network – a world first by any major airline.

We acknowledge that offsetting is only an interim measure until other technologies become available to radically reduce the carbon emissions of flying, but we want to take action on carbon now.

People have a choice in how they travel and people are now thinking about the potential carbon impact of different types of transport. But many people still want to fly and if people choose to fly we want to be one of the best choices they can make.”

How Much Is EasyJet Spending On This?

EasyJet is an ultra low cost carrier that carried 96 million passengers in the past year, so my first thought when I heard this news is that this new scheme must be really costly for them. That’s not to say that low cost carriers can’t lead the way with offsetting travel, but it is surprising in a way.

So, how much is this costing the airline? EasyJet says that they’ll be spending about £25 million per year between their carbon offset scheme, as well as their work to support new environmentally-friendly technology.

That’s less than I would have expected. Now that I’m doing research, though, it seems it’s not that far off. For example, British Airways offsetting all of their domestic flights is costing them about £3 million per year.

Here’s how EasyJet says the new program works in practice:

The vast majority (around 85%) of easyJet’s carbon footprint is due to the use of aviation fuel to power flight. easyJet constantly measures exactly how much fuel is used for its flights, and thus how much CO2 is produced, which is 3.157 kilograms of CO2 for every kilogram of aviation fuel used. Further, we use well known aviation standards and benchmarks to estimate the amount of other greenhouse gases we generate, and account for them on a CO2 equivalent basis. We then offset this quantity of CO2 by purchasing carbon credits which have a measured impact on carbon reduction.

Ultimately none of this is a perfect solution, as the science behind a lot of these offset schemes is somewhat debatable (not whether it makes sense to do something, but rather the methods that are used).

It sure seems to me like EasyJet is paying significantly less per passenger/flown mile than most carbon offset programs suggest, though perhaps they’ve found a way to cut costs there. I’d expect no less from an ultra low cost carrier. 😉

Bottom Line

Whether it’s a perfect solution or not, it’s certainly commendable that one of the world’s biggest ultra low cost carriers is now offsetting all of their flights. EasyJet will be spending about £25 million per year between their carbon offset scheme, as well as their work to support new environmentally-friendly technology.

Well done, EasyJet!

Comments
  1. Scheme is good word but con or lie is better. it is literally impossible to burn carbon and then be carbon neutral.

  2. Carbon offset = Capitalist marketing scheme to extort companies for good publicity.

    When will these NGOs learn, two wrongs doesn’t make it right.

    While Greta is a poster girl for mad environmentalist.
    Carbon offset is a poster boy for pretending makes a difference.

    Because of this you think Greta will fly EasyJet rather than (put an extra boat in the ocean just to) sail across the Atlantic.

    Both are meaningless publicity stunt using environment as an excuse.

  3. It’s quite amusing how people (including on this forum, ahem!) think these virtue signals actually mean something.

  4. Such PR BS. Look more closely at what ‘carbon offsetting’ actually means and you’ll see through the greenwash.

  5. > Carbon offset = Capitalist marketing scheme to extort companies for good publicity.

    Bingo.

    It may “offset” your guilt, it may “offset” some negative PR. It certainly does not reduce the amount of pollution they generate.

    It certainly will put money in someone’s pocket. This is just the buying and selling of iintangibles, another Wall Street gambit. A grand opportunity for someone to get rich, nothing new. Duh

  6. A lot better than nothing!

    Carbon offsetting provides renewable energy to other projects that can use it. Since planes can’t really fly on renewables, offsetting stops other forms of energy from polluting.

    Simple example: An airline creates a solar farm ti power buildings that used to be powered by coal. Those buildings are no longer polluting and while they airline is still, it’s offset the solar farm.

    Certainly not perfect but it’s absolutely a positive vs the status quo.

  7. Easyjet’s ecoist environmental concerns and a low fare to wherever I want to go at the time will get me on-board.

    Perhaps we should put solar panels on the top of all the fuselages and wings, and then, using some Greenie fantasy – they seem to have lots of them – energy transfer perhaps, beam the power down to Earth.

  8. the only way to really off set co2 is to remove all humans from earth. that is the only way we can save the planet

  9. Better than nothing but not as good as fundamental changes to airliner technology that reduces carbon.

    I’m greatly reducing my flying, especially for discretionary trips, until then.

  10. I prefer that they cut their fares with the 25 million budget. Once again its the poor that are suffering from climate ideology.

  11. That’s the fast track to my personal no-fly list. I’m not gonna pay for stupid company virtue-signalling. Should I pay thrice for everything? All the European countries are introducing hefty ‘eco’-taxes so why should I pay EasyJet again if I have already paid the tax?
    Get woke go broke! Same as with Gayllette.

  12. They’re not an “ultra low-cost carrier” as anyone who has flown with them will know – they’re just “low cost”. ULCC in Europe would be Ryanair, WizzAir, Vueling et al.

  13. Probably the most effective CO2-preventing campaign is the downward-spiral on comfort for intra-European flying during the last few years.
    I’ve limited my own flights to the few routes with true business class (LATAM on FRA-MAD, SQ on ARN-DME, TK and SU to Istanbul & Moscow). I can not stand the cramped European Economy & Euro-Business cabins with the lower class people anymore.
    That is until I have finished saving fro my private Pilatus aircraft.

  14. “It sure seems to me like EasyJet is paying significantly less per passenger/flown mile than most carbon offset programs suggest…” (Lucky, above).

    And who is paying the difference ? YOU are, Lucky… It’s all done with mirrors, whether it’s an abusive passenger tax like in the UK, “solidarity contribution” elsewhere or simply built into the ticket price so that it won’t affect corporate profits, passengers are made to pay and the opportunistic gift wrapping into goody-goody feelings about the planet is just P.R.

    That Easyjet may be the new “Carbon Neutral” airline won’t prevent a competitor from claiming they are the first “Carbon Reducing” carrier. There will probably be a joke about Ryanair charging for farts the way there was one about paying toilets but in the end nothing changes.

  15. @Eskimo
    Also hundreds of so called journalist flying across the world to report that Poster girl.

    Reddit has tons of jokes/memes on it.
    Greta’s master Luisa-Marie Neubauer is asking an artist to draw a paint showing Greta’s speech.
    When it done, the paint only has two Africans planting a baby tree.
    So Greta’s master Luisa-Marie Neubauer asks “where is my Greta?”
    The artist “Greta is having a speech in the UN。”

  16. Sure, this won’t solve climate change on its own, but the more that initiatives like this are taken/make the news, the more people begin to understand that greenhouse gas emissions should have some price tag attached to them, and the closer we get to widespread adoption of carbon taxes/cap and trade systems, as we eventually will need to do.

    The aviation industry is a tough egg to crack in terms of carbon emissions due to lack of available alternative tech, and frankly there are lower hanging fruit at the moment (land-based transportation, power generation, deforestation etc.) that contribute a far larger percentage of total greenhouse gas emissions and are much better uses of our efforts right now in terms of reducing emissions.

    Meanwhile, for the Greta/Green New Deal types, go tell the 300+ million people globally (https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/regions-2019/world2019.pdf) in places like Costa Rica or Tanzania whose jobs are supported by tourism that we’re banning commercial aviation and see how they feel about that. Relevant: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/19/opinion/climate-change-travel.html

  17. It’s always amusing to see the climate deniers come out of the woodwork whenever carbon emissions are mentioned. Okay, boomer.

    But this investment is laughably small if they seriously intend to offset all of Easyjet’s carbon emissions. We also need more research on the effects of contrails. There is some evidence to support that these clouds contribute to warming through a greenhouse effect.

    There is an interesting partnership between Delta and a Washington company, Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, exploring the feasibility of building a refinery to process forest residuals into biofuel. Forest residuals are the biomass left over as part of the timber harvesting process, things like twigs and branches that are generally not economical to process into wood products. When they are left in place they significantly increase the intensity of wildfires. I have wondered if this is what Trump’s sweeping the forest comment referred to. His odd comments usually seem to have some kernel of a misremembered or misconstrued truth. Standard best practice is to do a controlled burn of these forest residuals in place, which both increases local particulate pollution and of course CO2. By instead processing this into aviation biofuel, we can repurpose an existing emissions source and offset the emissions that would come from traditional fossil-fuel derived kerosene.

  18. Also, I can never tell if the people who criticize the emissions entailed in promoting climate justice are stupid or, more insidiously, making an intentionally disingenuous argument.

    Investing a relatively small amount of emissions in “publicity stunts” and reporting is obviously worthwhile if it leads to broad-scale change in regulations or public pressure to reduce emissions.

  19. Plenty of people commenting with criticism about this action taken be easyjet. Probably the same people who do NOTHING to change their own behaviour. People in glass houses…

    What easyjet has done is not perfect. But someone else also commented, it is certainly better than nothing. They have also pointed out that this is an interim step, until advances are made to aircraft technologies themselves.

    Let me ask a question to all those making comments that are sceptical, cynical or downright ridiculing. Given that airlines are (by and large) for profit capitalist enterprises, and “green” aircraft technologies are still in the infancy of being developed…should an airline decide to make some effort in this area, what ALTERNATIVE to essyjet’s action should they take?

  20. @BrewerSEA
    There are two kinds of people:
    1.) Those who believe in technological advancement and adaption, aka survival of the fittest. This principle is so great and proven over millions of years, that it has led humankind to the overflow of everything you need and don’t need available to you within a fingertip. These people will easily find a way to deal with the gradual, naturally happening climate dynamic.

    2.) Those who are afraid of the natural climate dynamic and use it to found a new religion-like doomsday-climate-change-cult and make money of it (subsidies for ‘green’ power sources, indulgence trade, …).

    You definitely are one of these anxious persons from category 2. I bet you have lived in your ‘safe space’ bubble in a big coastal city.

  21. James – “it is literally impossible to burn carbon and then be carbon neutral.”

    No it is not. That is mind numbingly stupid… If you emit 1KG of CO2 then take 1KG of CO2 out of the atmosphere, you are carbon neutral. It’s an incredibly simple concept and I’m rather concerned about you if you can’t grasp it!

    The only questions there are around schemes like this is: are they ACTUALLY removing that amount of CO2 and have they factored in that the location makes a difference to the climate change. I’d wager the answer to both of those questions is no, but the concept is irrefutably possible.

  22. Obviously, non-scientific but it’s reassuring that the bulk of the commentators recognize man-made climate change as a fraud. Pointless, resource/money wasting ideas, such as these, will raise prices for consumers and result in no impact on the environment.

  23. A few years ago I posed a question to a carbon neutral site – I wondered if I could get credit or paid for biking to work as opposed to paying them for driving to work. I was told their site does not work that way!

  24. Man-made climate change ignoes climate cycles.

    8 Billion inhabitants of the planet (up from 5 Billion only a few years ago) is more responsible for the current CO2 level changes than airplanes.

    Modern vehicles emit only a fraction of the pollutants of the 60’s (read your history Greta). The Great Smogs of London and LA are long gone. So should be air-tight wood burning stoves (Scandinavia/Northern Europe?)

    Let’s examine converting everything to electric. The VAST MAJORITY OF ELECTRICITY IS GENERATED BY BURNING COAL. There are only two reliable sources that don’t produce CO2 – nuclear reactors and hydro-electric.

    Greens oppose nuclear and hydro dams. So we are left with magic or a ‘scientific breakthrough’ to save the planet.

    In 20 years the new ISSUE will be the incredible problem of HOW TO GET RID OF ALL THOSE BATTERIES!!!!!! A nightmare that nobody wants to bring up.

    Carbon offsets – bulls balls. – a total scam.

    Want another suggestion – make some effort to eliminate the horrendous forest fires raging in every continent. (Oh where is clear-cutting when we need it)

    So what have the Greens achieved?
    – eliminated carbon free nuclear power generation
    – created a world that is filling up with environmentally disastrous batteries that only last a few years (the disposition problem will hit soon)
    – stopped clear-cutting which helped control forest fires

    Carbon Free? TWADDLE

  25. @Azamaraal

    HOW TO GET RID OF ALL THOSE BATTERIES!!!!!!

    Depends on who you ask.

    If you ask little Green Greta she will answer. How dare you, doomsday is coming. You promised. And nothing happens, LOL.

    If you ask Greta’s mom. Another Jackpot to cash out.

    If you ask Elon Musk. We will use it to build electric Rockets to Mars.

    If you ask Mark Zuckerberg. The Russians didn’t tamper our batteries.

    If you ask Donald Trump. We will dump them in China Mexico N.Korea and build a wall.

    If you ask Hunter Biden. I had a secret battery factory in Arkansas funded by Ukraine.

    If you ask stupid HK kids. We won’t have batteries extradited. Then they close the airport and burn down the city.

    If you ask Donald Trump’s again (after fact check). You misquoted on dumping in China. But there is no climate change.

    If you ask yourself. Stop using batteries and mobile electronic devices? Hell no. Leave this to 40 year old Greta. By then she will be rich and run for office but will lose to because her mom is corrupted.

    If you ask me. I will tweet from my Ford F150 the phrase Que Sera Sera.
    While chewing on a juicy beef burger. Sent from my iPhone. And I’ll just pay $10 to some Nigerian Prince that promise to offset my Carbon. I gave him another $5000 to help him transfer his carbon credits out of Nigeria.

  26. I find it amusing that Canadian companies like easyJet and their government are so hardcore on preventing climate change. It’s definitely virtue-signaling, because economically Canada will benefit from global warming more than any other nation on the planet (except for Russia). They’re preparing to say “oh no, we didn’t want this, but it happened anyway so we might as well take advantage”. The opening of the NW Passage will make the St. Lawrence as or more important as the Mississippi for shipping. Agriculture in the Prairies will increase to match yields in the American Midwest, and there will be a population boom as more parts of the country become habitable.

    Global warming is great news for Canada.

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