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BA: Tree Planting Offset Program ‘Disappointing’

British Airways has been accused of failing to properly market a program to offset emissions by planting trees, BBC reports. The program has saved just 1,600 tons of CO2 since September 2005, equivalent to four return flights to New York on a Boeing 777, according to BA company secretary Alan Buchanan.

BA admitted the lack of success was “disappointing” but said marketing begun last year to improve its “visibility” was put on hold after air passenger duties doubled, as it was felt customers would be less sympathetic to the program.

“I’m not sure that a lot of passengers are as keen to offset emissions as we had hoped,” Buchanan said.

MPs accused BA of not being “very adventurous” in marketing the program, claiming passengers did not know where to look for information and check-in staff had “blank expressions” when asked about it.

“The best way to achieve a proper offset is through an organized emissions trading scheme that would cover an entire flight,” Buchanan said.

In other news, BA predicts that the company will spend “millions of pounds” buying carbon credits under the EU’s emissions trading scheme when aviation is included in the system in 2011, Forbes reports. BA’s environmental affairs manager Andy Kershaw said the airline would have to buy between 20-30 pct of its required allowances.

The company says that the financial burden will be shouldered by passengers.

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