• Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Cargo introduces carbon-offset program for air freight


Cathay Pacific announced Aug. 24 that it is taking a lead in aviation’s sustainability efforts in Asia with the extension of Fly Greener to its air-cargo services. Fly Greener is a carbon-offset program powered by an integrated carbon-emissions calculator, as part of the airline’s commitment to tackling climate change by achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The new carbon emissions calculator works out the carbon emissions of shipments and the cost to offset them in just a couple of simple steps. Customers can then make a contribution to purchase carbon offsets that come from carefully selected carbon-offset projects. All selected projects are certified under the Gold Standard to ensure their carbon reductions are verified and come with societal and developmental benefits.

The carbon-offset program follows the launch earlier this year of Cathay Pacific’s Corporate Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Program, which brings SAF into Hong Kong International Airport for the first time in history. It provides corporate customers the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint from business travel and air-cargo shipments by contributing to the use of SAF. Cathay Pacific was also among the first carriers in the world to announce a target of 10 percent SAF in its total fuel use by 2030.

“The carbon-emissions calculator is another tool we have made available to help our customers achieve their sustainability targets to make our business and our industry more sustainable,” said George Edmunds, the general manager of commercial cargo for Cathay Pacific. “In tandem with our promotion and development of sustainable aviation fuel capabilities, the calculator will give our customers flexibility to offset their carbon emissions via a suite of accredited carbon-offset projects.”

Customers have already been able to estimate their potential carbon emissions by searching for flight connections with the emission calculator on cathaypacificcargo.com, but now registered customers using the website will be able to offset their shipments by air waybill (AWB) number. Users can enter five AWB numbers at a time but can submit as many applications as required over any monthly period. The tool, which uses the latest International Air Transport Association methodology, will show the volume of emissions and display the offset charge in local currency, calculated by weight and aircraft type.

This level of detail is central to the scheme, as explained by Simon Ng, CEO of Global Logistic System (HK) Co. Ltd., a Cathay Pacific-owned subsidiary that designed the technology. “Multiple factors can lead to variance in the amount of emissions generated by a booked shipment,” Ng said. “GLSHK helped refine this system with Cathay Pacific Cargo by using a variety of data sources to calculate the emissions for a shipment including the actual flown route, aircraft type, and actual flying distance to maximize the accuracy of the offset for our customers.”

After each submission, customers will be sent a spreadsheet showing the totals carried and claimed, plus the carbon-offset calculation. They will also receive a monthly statement displaying all submissions from the previous month and the total to be settled. Customers will then receive a certificate showing the offset total and the project they have supported, for their own sustainability-auditing processes.

The monetary contributions go directly to fund third-party validated projects that help to offset the CO2 generated by shipments, through carbon credits bought by Cathay Pacific and passed on to customers at cost. The airline makes no profit in the carbon-offset transactions.

The scheme currently supports four projects that bring fuel-efficient cooking stoves to families in Bangladesh, solar-powered hot water to households in India, and solar-powered cooking stoves and small biogas plants to families in China. More information about the carbon-offset projects can be found here.

In the launch phase, the carbon-emissions calculator will accept retrospective AWB numbers, but future iterations will see the tool built into Cathay Pacific Cargo’s digital booking and confirmation solution, Click & Ship. Customers will be able to add offsets directly to their bookings in a one-click process.

“We are excited to be driving industry leadership in Asia for sustainability, and we look forward to working with our customers to promote sustainable air-cargo shipments,” said Chris Bowden, head of cargo global partnerships with Cathay Pacific. “We know that carbon-offset calculations can be complex and need to be accurate for sustainability-auditing purposes. We believe that the ease and simplicity of Fly Greener and the carbon-emissions calculator makes the rigor and complexity that goes into carbon-emissions calculations straightforward and user-friendly, which is something our customers have been actively seeking.”

Cathay Pacific is the home airline of Hong Kong, offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa. Cathay Pacific is one of the world’s biggest international air-cargo carriers. The airline’s cargo division, Cathay Pacific Cargo, operates a fleet of 14 Boeing 747-8F freighters and six 747-400ERFs (extended-range freighter). The Cathay Pacific Group also includes Air Hong Kong, an express all-cargo carrier offering scheduled and charter services in Asia. Cathay Pacific is a member of the Swire Group and is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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