British Airways aircraft in flight. The aircraft has the BA Better World flight livery on it.

Press Release: British Airways customers can buy carbon removal credits

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British Airways is now offering customers the chance to address their emissions from flying by purchasing certified carbon removal credits. This innovative new approach has been made possible through the airline’s new upgraded climate platform, CO2llaborate, marking another milestone in the airline’s BA Better World sustainability journey.

While the carbon removal industry is still comparatively small in scale, scientists, governments and regulators including the United Nations recognise carbon removal projects as a vital tool to help address climate change.

Traditional carbon offsets are created when a project avoids, reduces or removes additional CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. Carbon removals specifically describe projects that remove CO2 from the atmosphere or from the carbon cycle. Both carbon offsets and carbon removals are important for meeting global climate goals, but the expectation among United Nations climate scientists is that over time, there will be a gradual transition towards supporting more carbon removals as the technological solutions, verification standards and policy support mechanisms mature.

With its parent company International Airlines Group (IAG), British Airways has supported research and innovation to help accelerate the development of cutting-edge carbon removals solutions since 2019, as part of its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. The airline is committed to supporting a variety of innovative carbon removals solutions and is considering projects that are immediately available and independently verified today, as well as more innovative technology solutions.

While the airline offsets the carbon emissions on all its flights within the UK, British Airways’ customers flying further afield are already able to purchase verified, high-quality carbon offsets and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is added to the existing fuel pipeline at Heathrow Airport through its partnership with Phillips 66. They can do this via the airline’s CO2llaborate platform to estimate and address their carbon emissions when flying.

The platform, created in partnership with CHOOOSE™, enables customers to understand their flight emissions and take steps to address their climate impact before or after their journey or directly from their seat on board, and by adding carbon removals to the portfolio of options available on CO2llaborate, customers have even more control and choice on ways to address the carbon footprint from their flights. Customers are able to calculate their flight emissions and use the adjustable slider to select the amount of SAF versus verified carbon removals, or SAF versus verified carbon offsets they wish to purchase.  This new proposition is believed to be the first time an airline has offered customers this portfolio of options to address their emissions.

From today, British Airways’ customers have the option to select a blend of two recognised and independently certified carbon removal projects on the platform, with more projects planned to be added over time.

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Blue Carbon Mangrove Project

The Blue Carbon Mangrove Project is a nature-based project (where plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis) in the Indus Delta Area in Pakistan. The project will support greenhouse gas removal by reforestation and revegetation of approximately 225,000 hectares of degraded tidal wetlands with mangrove and other species to absorb carbon dioxide, stabilise the area and protect the coastal area and communities.

Freres Biochar Project

The Freres Biochar project in Oregon, USA, sees the company’s biomass power production plant produce biochar, a carbon-rich charcoal-like material that is created when agricultural and wood waste is used as fuel. The process locks carbon into the solid material and prevents it from naturally decaying, locking carbon away and keeping it out of the atmosphere for several hundreds of years.

Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, said:

“In 2019, when we committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we identified that a vital way to meet this goal would be by using carbon removals and we currently expect that these could contribute up to a third of our total action. While we continue to drive action to reduce our emissions now, including by improving operational efficiency, investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft and scaling up the availability of sustainable aviation fuel, we’re excited to be supporting research and innovation to accelerate the scale-up of carbon removals solutions.

“By choosing carbon removals projects as part of their action to address the emissions associated with flying, our customers are not only joining us on our journey to a more sustainable future, but also helping accelerate the development of the vital carbon removal industry.”

The carbon removals projects British Airways supports are certified by independent, recognised bodies. The Blue Carbon Mangrove Project is certified by VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) and CCB (Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards). The Freres Biochar Project is certified by Puro.

About VCS (Verified Carbon Standards)

VCS Program projects are subject to independent auditing by both Verra staff and qualified third parties. This ensures that a project meets the standard’s rules and requirements; that its methodologies are properly applied; that it complies with local laws and regulations; and that no local stakeholders experience negative repercussions because of the project.

About CCB Standards

The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCB Standards) evaluate land management projects from the early stages of development through implementation. The CCB Standards were developed by the CCBA and have been managed by the Verra since November 2014. The CCB Standards foster the integration of best-practice and multiple-benefit approaches into project design and implementation.

About Puro

The Puro Standard is the first carbon removal standard for engineered carbon removal methods in the voluntary carbon market. It consists of high-quality carbon removal methodologies, aligned with the IPCC definition for carbon removal, for products or processes that remove carbon from the atmosphere.

About British Airways

British Airways was part of the first airline group in the world to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The airline is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions through a series of short, medium- and long-term initiatives. In the short-term this includes improving operational efficiency, introducing new fuel efficient aircraft, funding verified carbon offset projects to mitigate emissions on flights within the UK and progressively introducing sustainable aviation fuels using waste feedstocks, while in the medium to longer term this includes continuing to invest in the development and scale up of sustainable aviation fuel and looking at accelerating the growth of new technologies such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft and carbon capture technology. More details on British Airways’ sustainability programme, BA Better World can be found here.

  • More information about CO2llaborate and the SAF purchasing and offsetting options can be found here
  • British Airways’ sustainability factsheet can be found here

About CHOOOSE

CHOOOSE™ is a climate partner of British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), and recently launched a multi-integrated climate programme for Iberia’s customers.

CHOOOSE™ is a leader in technology-based climate action, building digital tools so that everyone, anywhere, can easily integrate climate action into everyday life and business. Through flexible integrations, customer-friendly interfaces, automated carbon measurement, and a connected marketplace of climate solutions, CHOOOSE delivers a complete platform that enables its partners to build and manage high-impact climate programs.

Featured image credited to British Airways