Easyjet has become the world’s first major airline to offset all carbon emissions given off by its flights, as the aviation industry comes under mounting pressure to reduce its environmental impact.
The budget carrier said the measure, which involves stopping deforestation in South America, installing solar panels in India and reducing wood-burning water sanitation in Uganda, would cost around £25m a year until 2022.
But chief executive Johan Lundgren said the firm would shoulder the cost because it is “the right thing to do”.
The promise came as the airline reported a 26 per cent fall in profit to £427m over the last year, which was at the upper end of expectations.
Lundgren added: “We recognise that offsetting is only an interim measure, but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now.”
Commercial flights make up about two per cent of global carbon emissions, with airlines increasingly responding to the growing “flight shame” movement, which originated from Lundgren’s native Sweden.
British Airways last month announced its own plans to offset emissions from all its domestic flights from next year, while its owner, IAG, became the first group to commit to net zero carbon flying by 2050.
Lundgren said that although Easyjet could benefit commercially from its flights being less detrimental to the environment than others, this was not the reason for the decision.
“Customers increasingly expect companies to do something about [climate change]. But fundamentally, it’s just the right thing to do,” he said.