If you have managed to keep half an eye on ‘other news’ in the last few weeks, you may have read that EasyJet was abandoning its carbon offset programme to focus on new technologies designed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. It’s a sad sign of the times when such an important development receives so little media coverage, but nevertheless refreshing to see the story was covered by at least some of the more serious publications.
What some reports did not highlight, is that carbon offsetting was always going to be an interim measure, as EasyJet CEO John Lundgren stated in 2019, when it became the first airline in the world to introduce carbon offsetting at a cost of 25 million (£) for that financial year. His view was that the airline had to do something to reduce its emissions at the time, whilst acknowledging that aviation needed to reinvent itself as quickly as possible.
The announcement to stop its carbon offset scheme would have been a major backward step for the airline, had it not simultaneously announced an ambitious roadmap to net zero emissions by 2050, including the introduction of hydrogen powered jet engines, which do not produce CO2 or other emissions (besides water).
As a company that works in close partnership with the aerospace industry IMET Alloys is aware of the specialties, collaborations and innovations that drive sustainable advancement throughout the sector. We admire the alliances that EasyJet has formed with industry partners such as Rolls Royce in pioneering the development of Hydrogen combustion engine technology and in supporting Airbus on the ZEROe program, to develop a zero-carbon emission commercial aircraft.
At the very least, the carbon offset scheme has helped raise awareness and served a purpose, but the new drive to net zero is a multi-dimensional and ambitious plan in transforming the future of air travel, yet will require much investment, collaboration, and willpower to succeed.
The question is, will this prompt other airlines to abandon their offset programs? And more importantly, what will they replace it with?
Article by Ruaraidh Williamson, CEO IMET Alloys