Cathay Pacific Cargo introduces emissions calculator for shipment offsets

Audited emissions totals will go towards carbon-reduction programmes with additional benefits

Cathay Pacific is extending its carbon offset programme to apply to cargo shipments, further cementing its leading position in tackling sustainability in aviation across Asia, as part of its commitment to tackling climate change by achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Its latest sustainability initiative offers cargo customers the opportunity to accurately audit emissions from their shipments, powered by an integrated, online carbon emissions calculator, and then offset them via carbon-reduction projects with societal benefits.

The new calculator works out the carbon emissions of shipments and the cost to offset them in just a couple of simple steps. Customers can then make a financial contribution to purchase offsets from a range of carefully selected carbon offset projects. All selected projects are certified under the Gold Standard to ensure their carbon reductions are verified, and they all come with societal and developmental benefits.


Sustainable operations

The offset programme follows the launch earlier this year of Cathay Pacific’s Corporate Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Programme, which brings SAF to Hong Kong International Airport for the first time. It provides corporate customers the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint from business travel and air cargo shipments by contributing to the use of SAF. Cathay Pacific was also among the first carriers in the world to announce a target of 10 per cent SAF in its total fuel use by 2030, and was an early investor in Fulcrum Bioenergy in the US, which uses household waste as feedstock to manufacture and refine SAF.

‘The carbon emissions calculator is another tool we have made available to help our customers achieve their sustainability targets to help address climate change as well as making our own business and our industry more sustainable,’ said George Edmunds, General Manager Cargo Commercial. ‘We know this is something that our customers have been looking for so that they can accurately fulfil their own carbon-reduction audit needs. The calculator in tandem with our promotion and development of Sustainable Aviation Fuel capabilities will give our customers flexibility to offset their carbon emissions via a suite of accredited carbon offset projects.’


Accurate figures from AWB numbers

Now registered customers can visit to offset their shipments by air waybill (AWB) number. They can enter five AWB numbers at a time, and can submit as many applications as required. The tool will show the volume of emissions and display the offset charge in local currency, calculated by weight, aircraft type and actual route flown to increase accuracy for auditing purposes.

This level of detail is central to the scheme, as Simon Ng, CEO of Global Logistics System (HK) Co Ltd (GLSHK), which designed the technology, explains. ‘Weather and other foreseen situations can lead to variance in the amount of emissions generated by a booked shipment,’ he said. ‘GLSHK helped refine this system with Cathay Pacific Cargo using a variety of data sources to calculate the emissions for a shipment to maximise the accuracy of the offset for our customers.’

After each submission, customers will be sent a spreadsheet showing the totals carried and claimed, plus the carbon offset calculation. They will also receive a monthly statement displaying all submissions from the previous month and the total to be settled. Customers will then receive a certificate showing the offset total and the project they have supported, for their own sustainability auditing processes.

Screengrab of the carbon emission calculator tool on Cathay Pacific Cargo website in English
Cathay Pacific Cargo’s new carbon emissions offset calculator computes carbon offsets in just a few clicks

The monetary contributions go directly to fund third-party validated projects that help to offset the CO2 generated by shipments, through carbon credits bought by Cathay Pacific and passed on to customers at cost. The airline makes no profit in the carbon offset transactions.


Carbon reduction and developmental offset projects

The scheme currently supports four projects, which bring fuel-efficient cooking stoves to families in Bangladesh; solar-powered hot water to households in India; solar-powered cooking stoves and small biogas plants to families in China. You can click here to read more about the projects.

A Bangladesh girl in traditional clothing sitting next to a stove
The Bondhu Chula Stoves project replaces open cooking fires with stoves that take harmful pollutants from the home and offers employment opportunities

In the launch phase, the carbon emissions calculator will accept retrospective AWB numbers, but future iterations will see the tool built into Cathay Pacific Cargo’s digital booking and confirmation solution, Click & Ship. Customers will be able to add offsets directly to their bookings in a one-click process.

‘We are excited to be driving industry leadership in Asia for sustainability, and we look forward to working with our customers to promote sustainable air cargo shipments,’ said Chris Bowden, Head of Cargo Global Partnerships. ‘We know that carbon offset calculations can be complex and need to be accurate for sustainability auditing purposes. We believe that the ease and simplicity of the carbon emissions calculator makes the rigour and complexity that goes into carbon emissions calculations straightforward and user-friendly, which is something our customers have been actively seeking.’