Taking its commitment to environmental sustainability a step further, KLM has supported a new wind project on the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean.
The project is designed to provide the entire island, roughly 5,000 homes and businesses, with renewable energy while cutting carbon emissions by roughly 30,000 tons per year.
KLM is working with Gold Standard, a non-profit carbon credit certifying organization, to publish a case study of its work on the wind project in Bonaire, which will also create about 24 new jobs on the island.
Gold Standard General Counsel and Director of US markets Lisa Hodes says 100% of every Euro committed by KLM passengers to carbon offsetting is dedicated to the project.
Certification of carbon offsetting is gaining traction as airlines work to communicate their sustainability efforts to both passengers and regulators. At this point a lot of passengers are largely confused about exactly what the end result is when they commit to invest in a carrier's carbon offset projects.
IATA Assistant Director for environment best practice Jon Godson joined Hodes at the recent ICAO Colloquium on Aviation and Climate Change, and explained prior to IATA issuing guidance passenger up-take on airline carbon offset schemes was relatively low.
IATA officially launched its offset programme in June 2009 with TAP, and Godson says seven carriers are readying to go "live" in June or July of this year.
Wading through the complex carbon market is going to be challenging for carriers as more regional emissions trading schemes are created while ICAO strives to develop guidelines to make those schemes more uniform.
Who ultimately will take responsibility for management of carbon trading also remains undetermined and creates a lot of uncertainty for carriers attempting to build their own sustainability programmes in anticipation of falling under one of several regional ETS programmes in development.
One the challenges ICAO faces at next assembly in September is getting its 190 member states to agree on a framework for market based measures to manage carbon containment in aviation. Let's wish the organisation luck -- It's a formidable task aptly assessed by ICAO Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez, who says most of the obstacles ahead are policy challenges.