Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has committed to purchasing carbon offsets, to completely neutralize the CO2 emissions of its flagship “Greenliner” Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft for a full year of operations in 2021.
The initiative is the start of the airline’s journey to reduce CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2019 levels by 2035, and to achieve full net zero emissions by 2050 – a first for any airline in the Gulf and one of the first to set a target of this scale in the industry. Separately the airline will implement an additional voluntary offset program for passengers via its website (etihad.com) in 2021.
Etihad’s Greenliner carbon offset program has been sourced in partnership with Respira, an international carbon offset finance house specializing in tailored offset schemes across multiple sectors. Etihad’s plan is centered on a Tanzanian forestry project and will initially purchase 80,000 tonnes of CO2 offsets.
The Makame Savannah REDD project – developed by Carbon Tanzania – employs a unique community-based model to curb deforestation and promote better management of local natural resources across over 100,000 hectares in the southern extension of the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem.
The offset scheme is verified and certified by VERRA, an independent carbon offset quality assurance body, under its Verified Carbon Standard. This ensures carbon offsets are quantifiable, additional, and fully sustainable. In addition, the Tanzanian project conforms to Climate, Community and Biodiversity standards, which protect endangered species and local communities. The scheme’s first offset vintages were certified in early November 2020.
The launch of the Greenliner carbon offset program complements Etihad’s ongoing work to develop and test Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs), with the goal of making them commercially viable for widespread adoption by the industry.
To support Etihad and Abu Dhabi’s long-term sustainability objectives, Respira will establish operations in the Capital of the UAE at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the Emirate’s international financial centre, to bring its offset expertise to the Middle East.