1. What is carbon offsetting?
Most businesses, products and services generate greenhouse gas emissions. To take responsibility for these emissions, companies or private individuals can pay to offset them. First the amount of emissions is calculated, and then measures are carried out to reduce them, but there will probably still be a certain amount of emissions remaining. For these remaining emissions, people can choose to offset them by carrying out measures to reduce emissions somewhere else for the equivalent amount. The money for carbon offsetting goes, for instance, to building wind power farms in developing countries. That means there is less need to produce electricity from coal-fired plants while it helps promote sustainable development.
2. How do I know the money benefits someone?
The money goes via Tricorona Climate Partner to purchase carbon offsets from one of the three selected Gold Standard CDM projects in India and China. The names of the projects are Sri Balaji, Yinyi and Yangjiayao, and all three generate renewable energy – from biomass (Sri Balaji) or wind power (Yinyi and Yangjiayao). These projects are what are known as CDM projects, which means they are UN-approved and also certified in compliance with the environmental movement’s Gold Standard (see below).
Read more about the projects below:
Sri Balaji (new window)
Yinyi (new window)
Yangjiayao (new window)
3. What is CDM and the Gold Standard?
CDM and Gold Standard are two different certifications for carbon offsetting. CDM stands for Clean Development Mechanism and is a system designed by the UN under the Kyoto Protocol. The system was developed to ensure that industrialised countries take their responsibility for the environment in making real reductions and assist developing countries economically in promoting sustainable development.
The Gold Standard is a label of quality with stricter criteria than CDM that was developed by some 80 international environmental organisations, including WWF International and Greenpeace International. Certification entails additional requirements for corporate social responsibility, commitment to the local population and sustainability.
4. What does it cost to offset carbon dioxide emissions?
Emissions from a flight vary depending on the length of the trip and what type of aircraft is used, but as a rule of thumb the cost of carbon-offsetting a flight is less than 10 Swedish öre per km.
Here are some concrete examples of prices for carbon-offsetting return trips with Swedavia’s selected Gold Standard CDM projects:
• Stockholm Arlanda Airport – Göteborg Landvetter Airport: about SEK 50
• Göteborg Landvetter Airport – London Heathrow: about SEK 150
• Stockholm Bromma Airport – Malmö Airport: about SEK 60
• Stockholm Arlanda Airport – New York: about SEK 630
With each purchase, you receive a certificate, proof that a carbon offset has been made.
5. How are emissions per trip calculated?
Calculations are handled by Tricorona and are performed in several steps. First, the distance is calculated (using the Greta Circle Method) for each leg, including specified layovers. Then for each leg an assumption is made for what type of aircraft could serve that leg, based on the distance of that leg. Average emission factors for the selected aircraft are taken from a database prepared by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) at the request of the Swedish Network for Transport and Environment (NTM), and the figure is multiplied by the distance calculated. NTM’s model includes emissions factors from the take-off stage (regardless of the length of the journey) and for flying at cruising altitude.
The NTM model only calculates carbon dioxide and not the aircraft’s other emissions, which at high altitude entail further environmental impact through the build-up of ozone, cloud formation and so forth. To take this into account, the portion of emissions from the flight at cruising altitude is multiplied by what is known as the radiative forcing index or RFI factor. The factor used is 2.7, which is based on reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). After this, the total emissions from the trip are divided among the passengers based on assumptions about the number of seats and cabin factor (passenger load).
6. What trips can I carbon-offset?
The flight calculator calculates flights between all the airports in the world.
7. When can I carbon-offset my trip?
Carbon offsetting can be done before or after your trip, but the earlier the trip is carbon-offset, the better it is for the environment.
8. How does it work in practical terms?
When you fly, a certain amount of greenhouse gases is released into the atmosphere and adds to global warming, which in the long term entails climate change that could have a detrimental impact on everyone. When a flight is carbon-offset, the greenhouse gases that these activities produce do not disappear, but by creating new climate projects, the carbon offsetting prevents new greenhouse gases from being released. To give an example, carbon offsetting helps build wind power farms where there might otherwise have been coal-fired power plants.
So when you fly, the money paid to carbon-offset your trip offsets a similar amount of emissions through a climate project chosen by Swedavia (see above). Carbon offsetting is guaranteed through the UN’s CDM system and includes the following steps:
• Authorised public accountants audit the projects annually and report to the UN the quantity of emissions actually prevented by each project during the period.
• The UN issues Certified Emissions Reductions (CER), a kind of proof that environmental benefits have been achieved, to Tricorona. Each CER has a unique serial number, which means it can be traced to the project.
• Tricorona cancels a similar quantity of certificates in a register maintained by the Swedish Energy Agency.
The money provided by carbon offsetting in Sweden thus enables new sustainable projects to continue growing in developing countries.
9. What does Tricorona do?
Tricorona is a leader in developing carbon offset projects and provides climate consulting services to companies. Carbon offset projects mainly involve renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures in developing countries, projects that change the everyday lives of millions of people through better access to energy, better health through reduced local pollution and new job opportunities.
10. Does Swedavia do its own carbon offsetting?
We have been carbon-neutral since 2006, which means we carry out systematic work to calculate and reduce emissions from our own operations. Our calculations comply with the GHG Protocol and are audited by external experts. We then carbon-offset the emissions we have not managed to reduce through measures carried out, which is done via the three projects mentioned above and which are offered as carbon offset projects on this website.
If you have questions about this carbon offsetting service, contact Tricorona.
Telephone: +46 (0)8-506 885 00