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Flying towards net zero

Flying towards net zero

by ESG Business Institute -
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The challenge of mitigating carbon emissions from air travel is a significant hurdle in the fight against climate change. Traditional carbon offset strategies often fall short, as they typically fail to address the root cause of emissions and can create a sense of complacency. Further, there's a growing skepticism around the effectiveness of offsets, as they can give the illusion of action without leading to substantial reductions in actual emissions.  

I cover these topics and many of the problems with current offset approaches in my forthcoming book, The Profiteers: How Business Privatizes Profit and Socializes Cost. 

Goodwings, a Copenhagen-based travel provider, is addressing these challenges head-on with its innovative approach to reducing emissions from travel. For instance, they announced recently their work on biofuels as part of their climate solution portfolio. Unlike traditional offset methods, Goodwings uses booking revenues to finance green jet fuel (biofuel), offering a more direct and accountable way of mitigating the environmental impact of travel. 

To learn more about this new offering and emissions challenges of air travel, I spoke to Christian Møller-Holst, CEO and founder of Goodwings, about impact and how businesses are finally waking up to climate change. Here are some key points from my article on Goodwings

  • Adopting biofuel outlines Goodwings’ sustained effort to make flying sustainable. “We have been investing in verified carbon removal projects for some time now, which are a hugely effective way of using nature to neutralize emissions,” Møller-Holst says. “But we always knew we wanted to go one step further with our impact strategy, and keep pace with the innovations reshaping the aviation sector.” 

  • With its model of traveling plus accommodation, Googwings managed to make biofuel options affordable to the average travelers. For example, if you fly from New York to Boston, your round-trip emissions will total around 150 kg. For that trip, a 3-night hotel stay booked on will generate around $60 in hotel booking commission, which means that Goodwings can afford to reduce your round-trip emissions by 50% using biofuel, and pay for the remainder through verified removal offsets. 

  • Ultimately, the aim of Goodwings is to achieve Net Zero in air travel. “Removing carbon is much more expensive which is why business model innovation is crucial. We must develop new business models designed to make products and services more sustainable and ensure that they can become mainstream by taking into account the price sensitivity.” he says. “In travel price is king, which is why we’re thrilled to be able to remove our clients’ emissions without increasing the price.” 

  • Møller-Holst says he has seen great customer demand for biofuels and sustainability-oriented products in general. “I believe that businesses of all sizes are finally waking up to climate change,” he says. “Not only are companies witnessing the effects on supply chains and revenue streams, but decision makers are noticing the effects in their personal lives too, which is driving a lot of positive action at a senior level.” 

  • Goodwings is also a certified B Corp. “As a company built with the purpose of turning travel into a driving force for good, the assessment confirmed that we had designed Goodwings the right way, but the process still opened our eyes to more areas of improvement,” Møller-Holst says. “Besides the assessment itself, the B Corp community, and the great work of B Lab and Sistema B, provides a platform for mutual inspiration and sharing and we’re proud to be part of it.” 

  • Møller-Holst says that beyond removing carbon from air, Goodwings has a much wider influence by inspiring other companies to follow their course. “It’s not about becoming the best in the world, but for the world. This is strongly embedded in our culture and values and drives all our decisions,” he says.  

Fly less or pay more, at first glance these to be the only two solutions that could reduce the carbon emission of air travel. However, Møller-Holst and Goodwings shows us there is actually a third path that continues to provide quality service while reducing carbon emission. As Møller-Holst says, “Net Zero travel should be the go-to choice in the future.”