Environment 71 Stories

Be a hero, fly CO2ZERO

Published

3rd Oct, 2017

Starting October 2017, KLM has selected a new project for its CO2ZERO compensation ser-vice. Passengers who choose to compensate for the individual CO2 emissions produced by their flight now contribute to the “CO2OL Tropical Mix” reforestation initiative in Panama. This project carries the Gold Standard Global Goals certificate. This reforestation project replaces the Toyola Coalpot project in Ghana, which also has a Gold Standard certificate.

(Re) planting trees in Panama

KLM’s CO2ZERO compensation service enables passengers to compensate for their flight-related carbon emissions and neutralise their flight’s carbon footprint. The actual level of CO2 emissions for each flight is calculated based on the type of aircraft used, the distance flown and the historical load factor of that specific flight. Passengers can select CO2ZERO during booking and manage this option through MyTrip.

Why this particular reforestation project in Panama?

Throughout Central America, high deforestation rates and forest fragmentation pose significant threats to the remaining biodiversity and to rural livelihoods. This project turns formerly degraded pasture land into mixed forests by planting a mix of mainly native tree species and some exotic species.

Until now, at least 3.5 million trees have been planted on different fincas (farms). The newly planted forests not only absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they also serve as bridges for animals seeking new habitats. Fifteen endangered animal species from the Red List, such as the ocelot, have already been observed. Reforestation also fulfils important ecosystem functions by protecting water levels and controlling erosion.

The project combines the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem restoration with sustainable timber production and small-scale sustainable cacao plantations. Besides the numerous environmental benefits, the project’s activities integrate capacity building and create long-term employment with a sustainable source of income for the local population. This helps them to improve their living conditions and develop knowledge and skills. 

How does compensation work?

The Gold Standard for the Global Goals ensures that projects do more to responsibly manage natural resources and bring life-changing benefits to local communities. The investments are financed by the purchase of so-called carbon credits from the project. A carbon credit can be seen as a form of permission to emit greenhouse gasses, which are then reduced or removed from the atmosphere through an emissions-reducing project. A reforestation project works as follows: newly planted trees absorb and store (sequester) carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from the atmosphere in their roots, stem and crown.

What is Gold Standard for the Global Goals?

Around the world, hundreds of organisations are running projects designed to help combat global warming by preventing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from entering our atmos-phere. Established in 2003 by WWF, Gold Standard has set the benchmark for climate initiatives such as these. All Gold Standard projects have to contribute to at least two UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), not only by having a positive impact on the climate, but also by benefitting local communities as much as possible.

The reforestation project in Panama contributes to the following Sustainable Development of the United Nations: Work en Economic Growth (8), Responsible Consumption (12), Climate Action (13) en Life on Land (15). Please follow this link for more information on the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

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