UK airline Silverjet has this week announced it is to become the world's first carbon neutral carrier by including the cost of carbon offset programmes as a mandatory item in the price of all tickets.
A spokesperson for the pioneering company, which is also the first to offer exclusively business class flights on its one route between London and New York, said the actual size of donations had not been confirmed yet, but she insisted the company planned to include the cost of offsetting within current ticket prices.
Under the proposed scheme, Silverjet has teamed up with The CarbonNeutral Company and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, which will undertake the cost per passenger calculations based on both the aircraft's emissions and emissions from associated ground activities. The costs will then be included as a mandatory item on all tickets.
Passengers will then be able to choose which offsetting project they wish their ticket's donation to go to, while those that fail to pick an option will see the investment put into a portfolio of projects. The projects include CarbonNeutral Company initiatives, such as a small scale wind-power generation in India; and the distribution of energy efficiency light bulbs in Jamaica.
"The important point is the carbon neutral offset is included as a mandatory item," said Lawrence Hunt CEO at the company. "That is the real difference to what others are doing. It is our hope that other airlines will follow our lead."
With Silverjet's business model squarely targeted at business travellers it seems the high profile move is designed to appeal to corporate executives increasingly concerned about their firm's carbon footprint. It is also likely to attract business from firms that have also pledged to go carbon neutral, as Silverjet's inclusion of the cost of offsetting in the ticket will ensure they no longer have to make separate donations themselves.
The step may also help Silverjet mitigate the risk of future legislation that could force airlines to be more proactive about offsetting their carbon emissions.
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