American carrier Southwest Airlines has agreed to purchase over 400,000 carbon credits from SMBC Aviation Capital.
The aircraft leasing company’s carbon credit portfolio consists of energy-efficient cookstove credits that align with many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
SMBC Aviation Capital is the first aircraft leasing company to develop a carbon credit programme, and in September 2022 announced an initial investment of US$53.3 million in carbon credit projects.
The projects align with up to 10 of the 17 UN SDGs including good health and well-being, gender equality and climate action. Part of the investment will also support local community initiatives such as irrigation schemes and micro finance opportunities for women.
Independent due diligence was undertaken on the company’s 11 carbon credit projects by Dutch company Climate Focus.
Southwest’s purchase supports its environmental sustainability efforts, including offsetting carbon emissions generated by employee business and charitable travel or meeting Corsia requirements. Corsia is a global carbon offsetting scheme that requires participating airline operators to offset any growth in CO2 emissions above 2020 levels.
The agreement will result in the carrier acquiring carbon credits certified by either Gold Standard or Verra over a five-year timeframe from SMBC Aviation Capital’s funded projects in Africa and Central America.