• January 05, 2009

Japan Airlines Launches Carbon Offset Program

Image1Tokyo, January 5, 2009: On February 3 2009, the JAL Group will start offering via its website a carbon offset program which will enable passengers using its flights to voluntarily offset the CO2 gases generated by their trips.


Whether it is to fly abroad, heat homes, commute to work, or just make dinner, people consume energy in their everyday lives and as a consequence produce CO2 emissions. Carbon offsetting is one of the ways people can reduce their own personal environmental footprint. By calculating the CO2 emissions generated by the things we do, it is possible to purchase ‘credits’ from a variety of emission reduction projects which wholly or partly decrease an equivalent amount of CO2 somewhere else in the world.  


Japan Airlines (JAL) has teamed up with Recycle One, the Japanese agency of the CarbonNeutral Company to offer passengers a voluntary carbon offset program which gives them the option to offset the CO2 generated by their trips. The CarbonNeutral Company is the world's leading carbon consulting and carbon offsetting company, and was one of the first companies to start offering a carbon offsetting scheme to individuals.


Passengers simply click on a banner on the homepage of JAL’s website which links to the ‘CO2 CARBON OFFSET x JAL’ micro-site provided by Recycle One. Here passengers can calculate the CO2 emissions generated by their whole journey using the calculator provided. The amount of CO2 emitted is determined by such factors as the distance of travel, aircraft type, fuel burn, passenger load factors, and passenger to cargo ratios. The class of travel is only taken into consideration on flights of more than 3,000km. Calculations are estimated amounts derived from a formula established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which has been adopted by airlines around the world.


Example Routes (One-way)

CO2 Emissions by Class of Travel

For a Carbon Neutral Flight

(Approx. JPY payment required)




Premium Economy/ Business/ First


Premium Economy/ Business/ First


New York

999 kg

1,998 kg





705 kg

1,410 kg




Hong Kong

337 kg

674 kg


JPY = Japanese yen


Then passengers choose a sustainable development project they would like to support, purchasing ‘credits’ to offset all or part of the CO2 emissions generated by their planned journey. They can select from around 10 projects being conducted worldwide which are focused on clean energy technology, primarily wind power related-projects.


It is possible to travel completely carbon neutral by financially contributing to a project that will reduce elsewhere in the world the equivalent amount of CO2 generated by a journey. Alternatively, it is possible to offset 50% of a journey’s CO2 emissions or as much as is possible for JPY1, 000 (approx USD11.00)  


Projects which customers can support utilize the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon credits of the UN, an initiative under the Kyoto Protocol that allows industrialized countries to invest in emission reduction projects in developing countries. All CO2 reductions are certified by the UN, making the CO2 emission amounts used the most reliable in the world.


JAL decided to start offering the carbon offsetting program as part of its ongoing commitment to the environment, and in response to comments from customers who are deeply concerned about environmental protection and the prevention of global warming. The program is completely voluntary, so it us up to each passenger to decide if they would like to make a payment to offset the CO2 emissions of their journey in order to reduce their own footprint on the environment.        


JAL & the Environment: For more than 15 years, Japan Airlines has been implementing a variety of measures designed to reduce and offset the impact its business activities have on the environment. It is targeting a 20% cut in the CO2 emissions per ATK of its fleet by 2010, compared to 1990 levels. It has already achieved nearly 16% reduction since 1990.


In partnership with Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, and Honeywell’s UOP, Japan Airlines will be the first airline to conduct a demonstration flight using a sustainable biofuel primarily refined from the energy crop, camelina. The demo flight planned for January 30, 2009 is expected to bring the airline industry significantly closer to finding a sustainable biofuel that will help reduce the impact of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) generated by aviation, whilst also reducing the industry’s reliance on traditional petroleum-based fuels.


Fleet renewal through the introduction of more fuel efficient aircraft has been indispensable to the airline group achieving these CO2 emission cuts. Almost 30% of the aircraft in the JAL fleet have been delivered in the past five years as it has retired 90 older models. The airline still has outstanding orders for more than 80 new aircraft, including the super-advanced Boeing 787 Dreamliner.


JAL has been looking at its business from every angle conceivable and has been carrying out an extensive range of fuel consumption and weight reduction measures to increase the fuel efficiency and consequently reduce the CO2 emissions of each aircraft in its fleet. It has, for example, trimmed 2 gm off the weight of spoons and forks used onboard, been using lighter materials in the design of its cargo containers, and has been regularly cleaning the jet engines of its large and medium-size aircraft which improve engine performance by around 1 percent.


Not only is it endeavouring to reduce its own environmental footprint, but JAL is throwing its support and resources behind projects which will help in the wider battle against climate change and global warming. With the aim of preventing or containing wild fires through early detection, information gathering and analysis, JAL’s pilots flying over Siberia, Alaska and Indonesia have been reporting any fire outbreaks they spot, with more than 500 blazes reported in the past five years.


Since 1993, JAL has also been participating in a global warming observation project to monitor greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere using air sample collection and measuring equipment specially fitted on five JAL aircraft on international routes. The data collected using JAL aircraft is helping scientists better understand the causes and effects of global warming. For further details, please visit www.jal.com/en/environment/


Carbon Offset Program.pdf 


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