Costa Rican Airline Nature Air is role model for responsible tourism

  • by crv.staff
  • 23.07.09
  • 3:25 PM UTC

nature-air-costa-rica Media Global

21 July 2009 [MEDIAGLOBAL]: Since 2004, the Costa Rican airline Nature Air has stood as the world’s first certified carbon-neutral airline. The airline has committed itself to limiting the negative effects of air travel on the environment through a variety of programs and initiatives that promote responsible tourism.

Air travel produces carbon dioxide emissions that intensify the greenhouse effect and consequently aggravate climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere, “Although it is less than 100 years since the first powered flight, the aviation industry has undergone rapid growth and has become an integral and vital part of modern society. In the absence of policy intervention, the growth is likely to continue. It is therefore highly relevant to consider the current and possible future effects of aircraft engine emissions on the atmosphere.”

Nature Air has done just that. The airline seeks to counteract 100 percent of all its flight emissions through projects to improve fuel efficiency, protect and conserve tropical forests, safeguard biological corridors, and advocate environmental funding for local communities. “We are always thinking, ‘what more can we do?’” Nature Air representative Ronald Jimenez told MediaGlobal.

Nature Air, which currently operates flights throughout Central America, minimizes its carbon footprint through the use of fuel-efficient twin-engine fleets, controlled aircraft weight, and careful route planning.

Through the use of precise calculations on carbon emissions over a 12-month period from all flights, regardless of the number of passengers per flight, Nature Air determines the carbon dioxide emissions from one galloon of fuel. The calculation methods followed are processed through the Forestry Financing Department of the Costa Rican Government and consistent with guidelines established by the IPCC.

Once Nature Air has computed its fuel consumption and carbon emissions, it implements and invests in environmental projects required for sufficient carbon offsetting. The airline’s not-for-profit Carbon Offset Program directs its funds to reforestation projects throughout Costa Rica. Nature Air has also signed agreements with Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal, the Costa Rican Forestry Financing Department of the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones, and the Ministry in charge of Environment and Energy.

Currently, Nature Air works with projects that are supported by the government of Costa Rica, which guarantees that the projects have acquired proper certification.

Nature Air also supports several initiatives in Costa Rica geared toward social responsibility and sustainable tourism, including the employment of local people for both administrative and operational positions, as well as the recycling of paper, plastics, and oils in office locations.

The airline has also founded Aerotica, Costa Rica’s first alternative fuel station that utilizes bio-fuel, and the NatureKids Foundation, an organization that teaches English language skills and self-empowerment techniques to the local communities. “When our company was started, our CEO believed that we should return something to our country, Costa Rica,” Jimenez told MediaGlobal. “We’re also teaching the people how to recycle and how to save energy,” Jimenez added

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