Continental Airlines has launched a voluntary carbon offsetting program that lets customers view the carbon footprint of their booked itinerary and to make a contribution to Sustainable Travel International to fund the purchase of carbon offsets.
Customers who choose to participate in the carbon offsetting program can choose one of four project portfolios: Gold Standard emission reduction projects managed by MyClimate, which are renewable energy and energy efficiency projects validated, registered and verified following Clean Development Mechanism principles under the Kyoto Protocol; international reforestation projects that preserve and create critical forests and that are designed using the standards set forth by the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance; U.S. Green-e certified renewable energy projects, such as wind farms; or a combination of these projects.
For the vast majority of consumers who have never made an offset purchase, it will be interesting to find out if multiple offset choices do anything more than confuse customers.
Customers may choose to contribute a suggested amount that is calculated based on the carbon emissions related to their itinerary, or they may choose to contribute a different amount toward the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Contracted corporate customers can also offset carbon emissions.
Delta was the first U.S. airline to offer consumers a similar option.
While other airlines, such as Continental, have concentrated on selling carbon offsets to passengers when flights are booked, Virgin recently unveiled a plan to sell offsets from the aisle during flights.