Iberia has launched its carbon offset program, known as CO2labora. The Spanish airline has partnered with CHOOOSE to offer passengers the option to pay for their emissions on each flight, also taking into account variables such as weather and aircraft type.
Carbon offsetting has been popular with airlines for years, especially in Europe. Iberia, and its subsidiary Iberia Express, will now allow passengers to pay compensation fees after booking their flights or even retrospectively for any flight you have taken. The calculator takes into account the type of aircraft (large carriers having more impact on the environment), the weather, the type of cabin and operational efficiency.
As has become common, Iberia has chosen CHOOOSE to run its carbon calculator and offset project, just as Air Canada did a few weeks ago. This allows the airline to plug in a plug-and-play system and select the projects it wishes to support from program funds.
Iberia has chosen to support two climate projects, one in Izabal, on the coast of Guatemala, and the other in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. The first project promotes the creation of new nature reserves and existing natural forests on the coasts. The second project will fund the growth of socially inclusive businesses that support the various indigenous communities at the edge of the Amazon.
How much do offsets cost?
To demonstrate how much carbon offsetting will actually cost you, we ran some tests. A return flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Madrid-Barajas (MAD) generates 181.6 kg of CO2 when traveling in economy class and on a narrow-body aircraft. To compensate for this route, passengers will have to pay €3.64 ($3.58), arguably a small sum. In business class, that figure jumps to €10 ($9.83), highlighting the impact of seat real estate on flights.
For a long-haul flight, say from MAD to Bogota, Colombia, passengers generate 947.5 kg of CO2 emissions in economy class round trip. Impact compensation will cost you €14.3 ($14), probably a fraction of the ticket price paid on such a flight. However, flying this route in business class generates 4,009 kg of CO2e, which costs €57 ($56) to offset.
As flights get longer, passengers will have to pay more to replace their environmental impact. Notably, Iberia’s platform allows travelers to choose the flights they wish to offset, allowing them to skip certain steps. With funding earmarked for verified climate projects, offsetting travel has never been easier and is unlikely to pose a major burden for many passengers.
While passengers can play a small role in tackling emissions, airlines are responsible for the most significant progress towards a carbon-neutral operation. Iberia has already committed to fly 10% of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030 and is currently testing long-haul flights with SAFs. Additionally, the carrier says retiring aging aircraft like the A340 and adding aircraft like the A350 and A321neo are key to reducing emissions by up to 20%. For now, carbon offsetting is just one step on the road to a sustainable future for aviation.
Have you ever paid for a carbon offset? Let us know in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO code:
- Airline type:
- Full service carrier
- Madrid Barajas Airport
- Year of foundation:
- one world
- Air group:
- Javier Sanchez-Prieto