Activist travel firm Responsible Travel has slammed BA’s plans to offset its carbon emissions, branding the move "absolutely the worst case of greenwashing".
BA announced plans on Thursday morning (10 October) to invest €3.2 million (£2.85 million) a year on international carbon reduction projects.
That figure, it says, is based on the current cost of carbon, and would offset 400,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution caused by its UK domestic flights each year.
However, Justin Francis, chief executive of Responsible Travel, said BA’s action was an “excuse to pollute more”.
“This is absolutely the worst case of greenwashing," he said. "It is symptomatic of all that is wrong with aviation’s approach to reducing emissions in the climate crisis."
Francis said offsetting "needed to be called out for what it is", adding: “BA plans to fly more. The growth will outweigh any efficiency gains, and they will pollute more.
“In the UK by 2050, at the current rate, aviation will be the single biggest cause of carbon emissions.”
The airline operates up to 75 domestic flights a day between London and 10 UK cities.
Responsible Travel has previously called for aviation duties to be increased via a new Green Flying Duty or increase in Air Passenger Duty and have it formally designed an environmental tax.
APD is currently paid straight to the Treasury for distribution among all government departments according to need, meaning it is not necessarily used to boost efforts to combat climate change.
The government currently collects around £3.4 billion APD a year, levied per passenger on UK flights.
BA said its carbon reduction projects include renewable energy, protection of rainforests and reforestation programmes.
It has also partnered with renewable fuel firm Velocys to back plans for a facility converting waste into sustainable jet fuel.
Alex Cruz, BA’s chairman and chief executive, said: “To solve such a multi-faceted issue requires a multi-faceted response and this initiative further demonstrates our commitment to a sustainable future.”
International Airlines Group (IAG), BA’s parent company, also says it is committed to pursuing net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
A BA spokesperson, responding to Francis’s greenwashing accusation, said: “We are determined to play our part to reduce our environmental impact and would be more than happy to discuss our approach with any interested parties.”
They said IAG expects to emit 60% less net CO2 per passenger kilometre than in 2005. “Offsetting our domestic flights is just one way that we are contributing to reducing our emissions," they told TTG.
“To ensure our future is sustainable, we need to collaborate and explore a range of options to further reduce our emissions as an industry.”