Claims such as “carbon neutral,” “environmentally friendly,” and “eco” will require companies to verify their products’ merits through third-party certification schemes.
Travel companies are among the industries that may be affected by the looming ban. For example, airlines may need to change booking interfaces that offer “climate-neutral” flights in exchange for buying carbon offsets supporting projects that lack credibility.
The rules okayed on Wednesday still need formal approval from the European Union parliament and its member states — expected in November. But it would be procedurally rare for the rules to be denied.
The move came on the same day United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “humanity has opened the gates to hell” in its failure to stop rising carbon emissions and a forecasted increase in extreme weather.
The London Marathon, set to attract 50,000 runners on Sunday, took several steps to lower its carbon footprint, including charging foreign entrants who had to travel to the city a $32 fee (26 pounds) as part of their entry applications.
“I’d say absolutely, (sustainability) is something that has become much more important, whether it’s the participants, to sponsors, to partners,” said Kate Chapman, the London Marathon’s sustainability adviser, according to a Reuters story.
Travel has the largest environmental impact on large gatherings such as marathons, the story said.
In another environmentally friendly step, 2,500 runners chose to have trees planted instead of accepting an official race T-short.
However, the Reuters story said the medals that the London Marathon will be handing out to the thousands of runners will not be recyclable.
The strategic partnership with Jin Jiang is expected to last until 2033, with the “primary ambition” to promote and drive sustainable transformations across the hospitality industry, and reduce the sector’s carbon emissions. They want to reduce utility costs such as water and electricity by 10 percent, and food waste by 30 percent, across both groups by 2030.
An ad by the Lufthansa Group has been banned in the UK after it was found to mislead consumers over the airline’s carbon emissions reduction efforts.
The ad in question was released last May with the tagline: “Connecting the World. Protecting its Future. #MakeChangeFly.” It was part of a campaign by Lufthansa to promote its efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, including using more low-emission sustainable aviation fuels, and buying more fuel efficient aircraft.
However, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority found Wednesday that the ad, which did not include any specific details of Lufthansa’s decarbonization efforts, was “ambiguous and not clearly linked to the environment,” and could mislead consumers.
“The tagline … was open to interpretation, but in conjunction with the imagery it would not be understood as an absolute promise about their service, especially one linked to the environment, that their services caused no harm to the environment,” the advertising regulator said.
In its defense, Lufthansa told the authority that the ad was not intended to be taken in isolation and included a hyperlink to a website that outlined its decarbonization efforts.
The Advertising Standards Authority found that the ad violated UK law after it “concluded that, because the basis of the claim had not been made clear and it had not been adequately substantiated.”
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn saw demand for connections between its trains and flights operated by Lufthansa increase 25 percent last year. The increase comes after the railroad and airline expanded their partnership, including more direct trains to the Frankfurt airport, in 2021.
“Where aviation and rail cooperate, we record double-digit growth rates,” said Michael Peterson, the head of Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance rail division that includes high-speed ICE trains, on Monday. “Our expanded feeder services to the largest German airport in Frankfurt am Main are part of this success.”
While Deutsche Bahn did not release passenger numbers, it said demand for these joint air-rail itineraries — or travelers who book both a flight and train connection on a single ticket — fully recovered from the pandemic by October 2021, and then grew in 2022. The data does not include travelers who bought flight and train tickets separately.
Lufthansa has previously said that it sold roughly 575,000 joint air-rail tickets with Deutsche Bahn in 2019.
Increasing the use of rail and ground transport over flights is a big push in Europe’s efforts to cut carbon emissions. France has banned short flights on routes where trains can make the journey in two-and-a-half-hours or less, while airlines and rail operators in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland have all unveiled expanded partnerships in recent years. Deutsche Bahn, which has partnered with Lufthansa since the 1980s, even plans to join the global airline confab, Star Alliance, as its first intermodal partner.
However, major challenges remain, many related to the passenger experience and physical infrastructure. Wayfinding between flights and trains is limited at some airports, making the transfer experience potentially difficult for those unfamiliar with the process. And, outside of key high-speed rail routes in Western Europe, trains often take significantly longer than the flights they compete with.
Deutsche Bahn, in its statement Monday, highlighted the need for more infrastructure investment in order to expand the number of air-rail passengers. A new high-speed line between Munich and Stuttgart that opened in December will eventually link the Stuttgart airport, and the operator said a high-speed rail link to the Munich airport was needed in the future.
Premium, business or first-class seat are regarded as more harmful to the environment, because the passenger is taking up more space on the aircraft. Most countries tax them more, too.
But according to a new study, allocating passenger aircraft emissions using airfares rather than travel class gives a more accurate idea of individual contributions, prompting calls for a tax rethink.
Researchers at the UK’s University College London describe how including airfares in calculations shows which passengers contribute the most revenue to the airline operating the aircraft, thereby allowing the plane to fly.
Although premium seats are more expensive than economy, they found many late bookings in economy class, often made for business trips or by high income travelers, cost as much as, or more than, premium seats.
“The paper shows we should follow the money when calculating emissions of individual travelers, as it is revenue that decides whether an airline can operate a plane or not,” said lead author Dr. Stijn van Ewijk.
“Someone who has paid twice as much as a fellow traveler contributes twice as much to the revenue of the airline and should be allocated twice the emissions. The seat size of each travel class, which is currently used to allocate emissions, is only a rough approximation of how much passengers pay,” he said.
Implementing a tax that is proportionate to the price of the ticket could make the total costs of flying fairer, the study suggests. People buying the most expensive tickets would pay the highest tax, encouraging them to seek alternatives. It could increase estimates of corporate emissions because it allocates more to expensive late bookings, which are often made for business purposes.
The study used data from the Airline Origin Survey database.
Lyft is introducing a new sustainability dashboard for companies in the Lyft Business Portal.
Lyft Business is the app’s travel management solution that streamlines ground transportation for organizations. Business customers starting Wednesday can access rideshare greenhouse gas emissions data for their company on the platform.
That information reflects the usage of Lyft Business solutions on the organizational level and can be broken down by several metrics.
Specifically, the dashboard will feature the following:
Total Emissions (MTCO2e): This includes the volume of carbon emissions emitted across all business rides under the company in a particular time frame, measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Emissions by Fuel Type: Business partners can filter for ride emission data by gas, hybrid, or electric vehicles (EVs).
Emissions by Program: Business partners can also filter for emission by different company rideshare initiatives. This includes different office locations, departments or customer transportation programs.
Downloadable Data: Data from the portal can be downloaded in CSV format for companies’ sustainability analyses or reporting.
This new addition follows previous moves by the rideshare company to increase the platform’s integration of sustainability measures. Back in 2020, Lyft made a commitment to transition to 100% EVs by the end of 2030.
“The first step in helping our business partners achieve their climate goals is arming them with data to see their carbon footprint on Lyft,” said Lyft Director of Sustainability Paul Augustine, in its company blog announcing the dashboard debut. “The second is helping them reduce their emissions by transitioning to low-carbon forms of transportation.”
Scope 3 emissions, which capture effects from indirect activities from assets not owned or controlled by an organization, are increasingly becoming a part of companies’ ESG [environmental, social, and governance] reporting. Lyft’s new reporting tool for GHG emissions from employee rides contributes to helping its business partners more accurately track their impact.
Actor (and travel tech investor) Ashton Kutcher is at it again, as his Sound Ventures venture capital firm has co-led a $15 million investment in climate tech company Chooose.
It’s the latest in a long chapter of travel investing for Kutcher, revealed on Friday, with previous deals including Affirm, Airbnb, Hipmunk and Citymaps, which was bought by TripAdvisor .
Norway-based Chooose, which offers climate solutions such as carbon offsetting, carbon removals and sustainable aviation fuel, already works with global companies and airlines including British Airways, Air Canada and Japan Airlines. It also works with Booking.com, Trip.com and SAP Concur.
Startups like this have fast emerged out of the need to give companies better insight into their carbon footprints when flying. This extra capital will go towards scaling up its platform, and further “embed climate action solutions into customer experiences.” It also plans to expand into new geographies, thanks to the funding provided by Soundwaves, which is the sustainability-focused vehicle of Kutcher’s fund.
GenZero, a decarbonisation-focused investment company owned by Singapore’s Temasek, also co-led the investment round. Existing investors Shell Ventures and Vinyl Capital also participated in the strategic capital round. Other current investors include travel technology giant Amadeus and Contrarian VC.
UPDATE: This article was amended to remove the series B mention, which had originally been provided.
Shoosmiths, one of the UK’s largest law firms, said this week it would deduct about $230 (£200) from a team travel budget each time lawyers flew to meetings, The Telegraph reported.
The goal is to encourage the firm’s more than 1,000 employees to consider alternatives to flying as the company aims to reduce its carbon emissions dramatically by 2025. The law firm, which has an estimated revenue of more than $200 million a year, will divert the money into a fund to help with its carbon reduction efforts. The firm will also offer bonuses to employees who reduce their carbon footprints.
Booking.com said last week that it is working to help travelers choose more environmentally sustainable travel options through a new partnership with climate tech company CHOOOSE.
The Amsterdam-based Booking Holdings (NYSE: BKNG) marketplace helps travelers book lodging and a range of transportation options.
The software made by Oslo-based CHOOOSE, which shares various pieces of emission-related info about specific bookings, can be integrated into other travel software platforms. Other clients of the company include SAP, Amadeus, Skyscanner, Southwest, Air Canada and more, according to its website.
The goal of the new global partnership is to increase traveler awareness about the carbon implications of their trips, with the ultimate goal of allowing travelers to choose different carbon offsetting options through Booking.com, the companies said. The partnership will focus first on accommodation and later move to other products and services, including flights.
Booking.com referenced its 2022 study showing that half of travelers say recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices. The company last year announced a program that would provide a badge to partners that have implemented a combination of sustainable practices.
“Together with CHOOOSE, we can provide information in a more transparent manner, and through trusted climate projects, can offer another way for travelers to make more mindful travel decisions,” said Danielle D’Silva, head of sustainability for Booking.com, in a statement.