Frequently Asked Questions
How does flying affect the environment?
As planes fly, they burn fuel which releases greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases block heat from escaping Earth’s atmosphere which leads to increased temperatures and changes in climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that aviation contributes around 2 per cent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting allows individuals and businesses to reduce their environmental impact. By purchasing carbon offsets, customers support environmental projects that remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere (such as planting forests), or prevent future emissions from occurring (such as replacing a coal-fired power station with a wind farm). One unit of carbon offset represents one metric tonne of greenhouse gas emissions reduced or removed from the atmosphere.
Why do we only refer to carbon?
There are seven main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbon, hydrofluorocarbon, sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride.
Each greenhouse gas has a different impact on climate, called the global-warming potential (GWP). For instance, methane’s GWP is 25 while nitrous oxide’s GWP is 298. We convert the amount of each greenhouse gas into the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same GWP. This is called the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) and makes it possible to measure the greenhouse gases and determine their individual and combined contributions to global warming. This is why carbon offsetting is typically transacted in ‘carbon’ or CO2e.
How are my cargo emissions calculated?
Singapore Airlines calculates cargo emissions using TEM’s BlueHalo® technology. The BlueHalo® software uses the current UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) international standards to convert greenhouse gas emissions associated with your cargo such as aircraft type, distance travelled and litres of fuel used, to tonnes of CO2e. The BlueHalo® calculations are continually updated as best practice international standards for greenhouse gas calculations evolve.
How often are the carbon calculations updated?
The BlueHalo® software is instantly updated with the most up-to-date emissions factors as they are published by the various agencies, including DEFRA. BlueHalo® also adds new routes as they are added or changed by SIA.
How do you work out the routing of flights if you are provided only with start and end points?
BlueHalo® has a sophisticated algorithm that assesses each flight pair and routes it through realistic layovers. This calculation takes into account the carrier, its alliances and other factors.
How do you calculate the emissions factors for airfreight?
We utilise the average flight factors published in the 2020 UK Government Carbon Emissions Factors documentation, commonly referred to as DEFRA factors.
How does DEFRA come up with its factors?
The DEFRA aircraft emissions factor approach is consistent across passenger and freight calculations. The approach is based on real world data that is then passed through an emissions calculation tool from which average factors are derived.
Once I upload my data into the system how long will it take to get a result.
The system batches data and provides a response within 48 hours.
If I have made mistakes will it let me know where I made an error?
Yes, the system will email you a file of the transactions that weren’t able to be calculated due to data errors.
Do I need to provide my company data if I want to complete a carbon transaction?
Yes, for us to correctly invoice you we need some information to ensure we provide the correct tax (in regions where this is applicable such as Australia and New Zealand) and other information on our documentation.
Will you give me itemised breakdown of the calculations?
Regrettably, we are unable to provide this granularity of data to customers at this time. However, the calculations are reviewed by our external assurance partners to ensure that they are correct. We intend to offer greater insight into your emissions with our reporting tools very soon.
How do you know the offset is really happening?
Singapore Airlines only purchases carbon offsets from projects that are verified at the highest
international standards and are either already compliant or finalising compliance under the Carbon
Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which is governed by the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Projects are verified by an independent third-party like
the Verified Carbon Standard Program and the Gold Standard who ensure each project meets strict
criteria to deliver measurable and permanent emissions reductions additional to a business-as-usual
scenario. Following compliance with the relevant third-party, the project is then issued with carbon
offsets, each with a unique serial number. For instance, if the project demonstrated a reduction in
emissions of 1000 tonnes, they would be issued with 1000 carbon offsets.
Once Singapore Airlines purchases carbon offsets from a project, they are then retired, ensuring the offset cannot be traded again, and completing the carbon offset cycle for the traveller. When a carbon offset is retired or 'cancelled' it refers to the way an individual carbon offset has been accredited to a particular organisation. The retirement is completed in the relevant carbon registry and in-line with international carbon accounting protocols. This prevents the offset being either used again or re-sold.
Which offset projects does my contribution support?
Singapore Airlines purchases carbon offsets from a carefully selected portfolio of projects across the Asia region that remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, or prevent future emissions from occurring.
Our portfolio of projects includes:
- The restoration of native forests in Indonesia, which capture carbon stored in the trees, provide employment and training opportunities for local residents and establish vital habitat for native wildlife.
- Solar energy projects that are replacing fossil fuel generation for reliable clean electricity across India, creating jobs and strengthening rural electrification coverage.
- The distribution of efficient cookstoves which significantly reduce the amount of smoke produced during cooking, lowering the risk of respiratory, heart and eye disease particularly for women and children who are responsible for preparing meals in Nepal.
Why can’t I choose my own carbon offset project to direct my contribution towards?
To secure a long-term supply of premium carbon offsets at a consistent price, Singapore Airlines purchases from a portfolio of accredited projects. We support projects such as renewable energy in emerging economies, forest restoration initiatives and the distribution of clean cookstoves. By supporting an entire ecosystem of projects, we’re leveraging our environmental and social impact and helping educate our customers on the additional benefits sustained by taking action on climate change.
Does Singapore Airlines profit from this programme?
No. Singapore Airlines does not profit from the sale of carbon offsets purchased under the carbon offset programme. One hundred per cent of the contribution made by customers is used to source carbon offsets from premium projects worldwide. Administration fees are included to carry out due diligence of sourcing and supplying carbon offsets including managing the offset retirement process and all carbon accounting.
What else is Singapore Airlines Cargo doing to reduce its environmental impact?
As we look to the future, the Singapore Airlines Group continues to focus on finding new ways to help ensure the world around us is conserved for future generations to enjoy. We are committed to enhancing the journeys and experiences of travellers while actively reducing our impact on the environment. Learn more about our sustainable food sourcing, waste reduction, fleet efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in our sustainability report here.
What is CORSIA?
Developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2016, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a carbon reduction and carbon offset programme to lower CO2 emissions for international flights and reduce aviation’s impact on climate change. ICAO have set strict criteria for which carbon offset project development programmes are eligible for compliance under CORSIA.
Why does SIA offer offsetting when it complies with CORSIA?
SIA believes that every act counts. SIA gives our customers the opportunity to offset their cargo because it is important to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere as soon as possible. At the same time, SIA complies with longer-term international obligations under CORSIA.
Is my contribution helping SIA reach its CORSIA obligation?
No. SIA will manage all compliance requirements under CORSIA at our own cost, and not at a separate charge to customers.
Who is TEM?
TEM is Asia-Pacific’s largest carbon offset provider dedicated to connecting businesses and consumers with taking action on climate change. TEM provides Singapore Airlines Cargo with its BlueHalo® digital platform which allows calculation of cargo flight emissions and the offset of those emissions.