Easyjet Holidays says it has become the first major tour operator to offset carbon emissions without passing the cost on to its customers. Rose Dykins reports

Ahead of unveiling its future sustainability strategy, Easyjet Holidays says it will offset the carbon footprint of its flights, transfers and hotel stays.

The holiday package provider has now retrospectively offset carbon emissions created by all flights, in-destinations transfers and hotel stays for all of its holidays sold since its launch in November 2019.

The announcement follows Easyjet’s previous move towards more eco-friendly operations by offsetting all of its domestic and international flights since late 2019.

A statement from Easyjet Holidays reads: “While Easyjet believes that offsetting is the best way to address its carbon emissions right now, it is only an interim measure until radical new technologies are available and Easyjet is actively involved in the development of all-electric, hybrid and hydrogen propulsion to achieve zero-emission flying in the future.”

In 2020, Easyjet partnered with American start-up Wright Electric to begin developing an electric engine to power a 186-seat aircraft, which it plans to start testing in 2023.

Garry Wilson, CEO of Easyjet Holidays, says: “We’ve spent a lot of time when we’ve not had customers travelling working on our sustainability plans. We believe there’s a real opportunity to play our part to re-open tourism sustainably.

“Easyjet and Easyjet Holidays are famous for making travel affordable and accessible to so many people, so I’m really proud that from today we become the first major tour operator to offset the carbon emissions from our holidays – so the fuel used on our flights and transfers and the energy used in hotel stays – and being able to do this without passing on any cost to the customer…

“We look forward to sharing what else we’re committing to with our full sustainability strategy and our longer-term actions very soon.”

To calculate its carbon footprint of its flights, Easyjet Holidays took into account the fuel used for easyjet’s flights. As standard practice, the airline measures the amount fuel is used for its flights, and thus how much CO2 is produced: which amounts to 3.157kg of carbon for every kilogram of aviation fuel used.

“Further, we use well known aviation standards and benchmarks to estimate the amount of other greenhouse gases we generate, and account for them on a CO2-equivalent basis,” Easyjet says. “We then offset this quantity of CO2 by purchasing carbon credits which have a measured impact on carbon reduction.”

For hotel stays, Easyjet Holidays tallied up the number of guest nights stayed, the number of customers, and then calculated total emissions based on country specific CO2e/room/night emissions using carbon factors published by the UK government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Finally, for in-destination transfers, Easyjet Holidays added up the number of customers, the type of transfer (such as whether it’s a shared bus or a private taxi, the distance from the airport to the region customers are staying), and calculated on CO2e/passenger/km emissions using the DEFRA’s published  carbon factors.

Easyjet Holidays then sought out carbon offset partners that were Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), both globally recognised standards for offsetting. The company was advised by Climate Focus to select projects and partners, and it will continue to consult with the organisation for its ongoing carbon offset management process.

Easyjet Holidays has decided to partner with EcoAct and First Climate to offset its emissions, and will donate revenue to compensate for its carbon footprint to their projects. Their work includes forest conservation in South America and Africa, renewable energy projects in Tamil Nadu (India) and improving cooking technology in Rwanda to reduce pollutants generated from stoves.

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