WestJet offers free carbon offsets for flights

image courtesy of wikipedia

Billionaire Richard Branson, who announced last month that he was putting $3 billion towards anti-global warming initiatives, has issued a call to the airline industry for a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions. In response, or perhaps coincidentally, Canadian-owned airline WestJet has announced they’re now offering carbon offsets for flights booked through one of their corporate partners st no extra cost.
Branson’s proposals focus mostly on improving fuel efficiency with strategies that include reducing aircraft idling, and by using a tug to position aircraft on the runway prior to takeoff. So far one airline has responded in a big way; any WestJet flight booked through offsetters.ca will receive a free carbon offset for the flight. Previously, and currently for other airlines, a flight carbon offset can be purchased through a third party such as TerraPass for as little as $9.95.

WestJet has been a unique company in the airline industry since they were founded 10 years ago because they are non-unionized, a fact credited to the profit-sharing economic model of the company. With profit sharing (a concept explained in the excellent book Visionary Business by Marc Allen), what’s good for the company is good for the employees. In this case, the move will also be very good for the environment too.

Overall this is an excellent intermediary step in the progression towards fuel-cell aircraft, carbon-neutral aircraft fuels and other environmentally friendly flight options to help move us in the future.

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Steve holds a degree in Environmental Engineering Technology from Humber College in Toronto, is a LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. He currently lives in Victoria BC and works as a green building consultant specializing in residential projects.


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