British Airways’ emissions offset platform allows passengers to buy carbon removal credits directly from their aeroplane seat. Olivia Palamountain reports

British Airways is adding to its menu of carbon offset options through its upgraded climate platform, CO2llaborate, which allows customers to estimate and address their carbon emissions when flying.

Not only does this give fliers another opportunity to calculate and address their flight emissions before or after they take off, but they can now buy carbon removal credits directly from their onboard aircraft seat.

The flight emission calculation tool is activated using an adjustable slider that selects the amount of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) versus verified carbon removals, or SAF versus verified carbon offsets – with a link to purchase.

While British Airways already offsets the carbon emissions on all its flights within the UK, the enhanced offering forms part of the airline’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.

British Airways customers can select a blend of two recognised and independently certified carbon removal projects on the CO2llaborate platform – the Blue Carbon Mangrove Project and the Freres Biochar Project. Further projects are planned to be added in due course.

Based in Pakistan’s Indus Delta, the Blue Carbon Mangrove Project supports greenhouse gas removal by the reforestation and revegetation of approximately 225,000 hectares of degraded tidal wetlands. Rich in mangrove and other species that absorb carbon dioxide, this initiative helps to stabilise the area and protect the coastal region and its communities.

In contrast to the former nature-based activation is the Freres Biochar project in Oregon, USA, that 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 decaying, keeping it out of the atmosphere for several hundreds of years.

Carrie Harris, director of sustainability at British Airways, says: “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.”