Carbon offsetting should be the responsibility of airlines, according to easyJet’s CCO, Sophie Dekkers. Simple Flying caught up with Dekkers at the recent Future Flying Forum, where we discussed easyJet and its role as a blueprint for sustainability within the industry.
While it is not seen as a long-term solution, we can do carbon offsetting now to tackle aviation emissions. The idea is that money is taken to fund projects that will reduce carbon emissions elsewhere. One of the main avenues through which this is achieved is reforestation, where trees absorb carbon equivalent to a passenger’s journey while they grow.
Offsetting is the airline’s responsibility
As part of the Future Flying Forum, Simple Flying had the chance to catch up with easyJet’s Chief Commerical Officer, Sophie Dekkers, on the subject of sustainability. When asked if carbon offsetting should be the responsibility of the airline or the passenger, Dekkers commented,
“We think it’s our responsibility as a major airline to compensate for the carbon that we’re generating. And we think it’s the cost of doing business nowadays… But we do still think this is an interim stopgap measure while we do develop more new zero-emissions technologies for the longer term.
easyJet used to offer passengers the opportunity to offset the carbon generated by their flights. Of course, this meant that some passengers used the scheme while others passed it by. Around two years ago, the airline decided to end its optional carbon offsetting scheme.
However, this wasn’t the end of carbon offsetting at the airline, but rather the exact opposite. easyJet began to offset carbon from every single passenger automatically. While passengers will inevitably pay these costs through ticket purchases, they aren’t added as a direct charge to flight bookings.
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A measure for now
easyJet is acutely aware that carbon offsetting isn’t THE answer to aviation emissions, though it can be done right now and is better than doing nothing. With this in mind, the airline is keenly looking at other answers to emissions on its way to a net-zero target by 2050. Simple Flying recently reported that the airline had launched sustainable turnarounds in Bristol.
Many planemakers are currently betting on either hydrogen or electric. Airbus, for example, is keenly exploring Hydrogen, having suggested that electric flight with an A320 sized aircraft isn’t viable. Meanwhile, while working with Airbus, easyJet is also working with WrightElectric on its electric-powered plane. Of course, these aircraft still seem a long way off, hence the emphasis on taking action now.
Do you think airlines or passengers should bear the responsibility of carbon offsetting? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!