As an organisation, we have placed an increased focus on sustainable practices over the past few years. We believe everyone in the travel industry needs to take responsibility for ensuring we care for the environment. FCm Travel Solutions is committed to promoting sustainable travel practices and making it easy for our clients to both understand and offset their carbon footprint.
Since 1 October 2013 the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013 has required all UK quoted companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions as part of their annual Directors’ Report.
That requirement affects all UK incorporated companies listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, a European Economic Area market or whose shares are dealing on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ.
The government encourages all other companies to report similarly, although this remains voluntary.
It is predicted that such reporting legislation will soon encompass companies listed on AIM and eventually incorporated into all UK annual company reports.
Similar legislation applies in the US and South Africa.
According to the PwC Global 500 Report 2013 Carbon Disclosure Project, “Approximately 70% of Global 500 currently reports their business travel carbon footprint. 51% of companies selected reputation as a common opportunity”.
Greater accuracy in reporting
Flight Carbon Footprint Calculator
The piece of software calculates the carbon footprint of any flight on any airline in the world. It has been developed using the ICAO methodology as a template as well as using data from EEA (European Environment Agency) and EUROCONTROL.
However, whereas the ICAO methodology calculates average footprints for designated flight routes (LHR-JFK) and only takes into consideration CO2; our software is specific to route and airline (LHR-JFK-BA/LHR-JFK-AA), and accounts for all GHG emissions (CO2, N2O, CH4) and radiative forcing.
This means that the calculations are not only more accurate, but can help business reduce their annual carbon footprints by choosing the most environmentally efficient route. The software produces reports based on set parameters i.e. single flight data, monthly statements, and annual statements.
The Voluntary Carbon Market
The voluntary carbon market is a term given to the carbon market sectors and geographies not covered by either mandatory cap-and-trade schemes or other regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Individuals, companies and governments purchase carbon offsets to mitigate the impact to cover some or their entire carbon footprint for particular activities or businesses, or just to display their concern for the environment.
What is offsetting?
In recent years, as the political processes attempting to find a solution to climate change have stalled, the call for action has been answered increasingly by the private sector. Individuals and businesses, eager to address the issues of climate change are actively implementing new initiatives to limit their impact on the environment and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
The Carbon Trust defines a carbon footprint as "the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person" which is accountable from all manner of everyday activities.
We all know how to reduce our footprint but, at present the energy sector is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and resultantly it is very difficult for any business or person to be completely carbon free.
Therefore the only way to take full responsibility for your footprint is to enable an equivalent amount to be absorbed, or avoid being emitted, elsewhere, also known as offsetting.
Private sector offsetting is done through the Voluntary Carbon Market, dealing only with Voluntary Emissions Reduction (VER) credits, which are generated via a range of projects such as hydro or wind power. These projects abate the CO2 released by more polluting methods of energy generation. Through 3rd party organisations each project undergoes verification and validation to ascertain the volume of reduced CO2, with each tonne of reduction generating a carbon credit.
A carbon offset negates or ‘neutralises’ a metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) emitted in one place by avoiding the release of a tCO2e elsewhere, or absorbing/ sequestering a tCO2e that would have otherwise remained in the atmosphere.
Carbon offsets are created through various types of projects, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, destruction of various industrial gases, and carbon sequestration underground or in soils and forests. A project does not necessarily have to offset CO2, but can also offset a variety of other GHGs, such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons.
Voluntary Carbon Standard VCS
VCS is the world’s most widely used voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction program. In just a few short years, more than 1000 registered projects have collectively removed more than 130 million tons of emissions from the atmosphere.
Along with the obvious environmental benefits there are other intrinsic business advantages available from carbon offsetting. It is a powerful tool for building brand and reputation through alignment with increasingly eco-conscious stakeholders and customers.