Mon 3 Dec 2007 – The world’s fifth largest airline, Continental Airlines, has announced the launch of a carbon offsetting programme developed in partnership with US-based non-profit organization Sustainable Travel International (STI). The voluntary programme allows customers worldwide to view the carbon footprint of their journey and make a contribution to help fund the purchase of carbon offsets.
Proceeds from the contributions will allow STI to fund projects located all over the world, which are independently verified or certified by third-party sources. Customers who choose to participate may contribute to one of four project portfolios:
· Gold Standard emission reduction projects managed by MyClimate, which are renewable energy and energy efficiency projects validated, registered and verified following Clean Development Mechanism principles;
· international reforestation projects that preserve and create forests and that are designed using the standards set forth by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance;
· US Green-e certified renewable energy projects, such as wind farms; or
· a combination of these projects.
Customers may choose to contribute a suggested amount that has been based on a calculation of the carbon emissions related to their itinerary, or they can make a contribution of their own choosing.
The carbon offsetting calculator on the airline’s website (www.continental.com) can be accessed in one of four ways including from a link on the confirmation page after purchasing a ticket. No ticket purchase is required to access the calculator, which can be found through the About Continental tab.
In addition to offering a carbon offset project for individual customers, the airline is able to provide its contracted corporate customers the carbon emissions associated with their business travel.
The carbon offsetting option, says Continental, is part of a company-wide commitment to environmental responsibility and claims it has achieved a near 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption per mainline revenue passenger mile flown over the past 10 years. The airline says it has reduced by around 75% NOx emissions from ground equipment at the carrier’s largest hub, Houston, through switching to electric ground service equipment and other new technology. This year, Fortune magazine named Continental as one of ten ‘Green Giants’ - corporations whose environmental policies go beyond what is required.
Founded in 2002, Sustainable Travel International introduced carbon offsetting and custom carbon calculators into the North American travel and tourism industry. Its mission, it says, is to promote sustainable development and responsible travel by providing programmes to help travellers and travel-related companies protect the environmental, socio-cultural and economic values of the places they visit and the world at large.
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