Lufthansa launches carbon offset program

Lufthansa has launched a carbon offset program providing environmental impact information for any flight on any airline

With air traffic's carbon footprint making the news all summer, the Lufthansa group has just introduced its own platform enabling guests to offset the CO2 emissions resulting from their flights.

Lufthansa's new "Compensaid" program presents its guests with a way to offset their trip's carbon emissions by up to 80%.

With a number of personalities raising their voices in criticism of the airlines' heavy environmental impact, the German air carrier is taking concrete action by allowing passengers to know a flight's total CO2 emissions, as well as the amount of money they need to spend to offset them. Not content with providing transparent information about its own flights, Lufthansa will include information about other airlines' flights through a simple query of the flight number as well as the class (first, business, coach) chosen.

Registering an account at Compensaid.de allows travelers to keep a journal of their flights and the cost that they incurred for the planet. The trip's distance, environmental impact of the type of aircraft, and the individual fuel consumption are all displayed. To do this, the platform calculates the market-based surcharge in relation to fossil kerosene. A new-technology fuel, called "Sustainable Action Fuel," chemically similar to traditional aviation fuels but is up to 80% less carbon-intensive, is proposed. According to a press release on Lufthansa's site, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel "purchased as part of the offsetting process will be deployed on Lufthansa flights within a period of six months."

As an example, flying Air France between Paris Roissy Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow on Wednesday, August 21 is equivalent to a distance of 397 km and 64 kg of CO2, representing a surcharge of 3,213.77€. Considering that these surcharges might not be within reach of most travelers, the airline is proposing another solution: they can opt to support a reforestation project in Nicaragua, for a cost of 1,237.40 for the Paris/London flight cited above. 

Other air carriers such as Finnair are offering their customers a way to compensate for their CO2 emissions, or to participate in environmental projects, such as the Air France-associated A Tree For You. However, until now, the emissions were calculated at the time of reservation, with the purchaser choosing whether to give a donation. Lufthansa's solution blazes a trail for those interested in doing more and includes all air travel actors.