Etihad Airways has launched a sprawling forest in Abu Dhabi offering guests, corporate accounts and partners the ability to adopt trees to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Etihad Mangrove Forest is the first of several forests the airline plans to open to establish a carbon absorbing plantation on every continent it flies to.
It follows two years of intensive research and development, innovation and transformation through its Greenliner programme to tackle aviation decarbonisation in collaboration with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Airways aims to tackle local and national environmental goals via the project including decarbonisation, waste management and cutting down on single use plastics.
The first forest is located on Jubail Island and will support mangrove conservation projects, develop new carbon sinks and remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Biodiversity is the next step for Etihad Airways to explore the promotion of conservation efforts for the native mangroves of the United Arab Emirates.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The Etihad Mangrove Forest is the next step in our sustainability journey to ensure our responsibility to remove carbon from the atmosphere is progressing. The intent is to create forests on all continents we fly to, and to provide our guests with an engaging opportunity to take part in the solution.
“We know offsetting unavoidable emissions alone isn’t going to solve the climate crisis, we need to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. Even with the best-case scenario global decarbonisation drive, we will still need to remove six to 10 Gt of CO2 per year by 2050 to stay below 1.5 °C global warming.
“The Etihad Mangrove Forest will contribute to this task. We invite and encourage our guests and partners to join us on this journey as we know from first-hand experience it is a topic many care passionately about and will impact us all.”
Etihad Airways: The goal
Using a unique digital platform, the Etihad Mangrove Forest will allow guests and partners to invest in carbon removal for $5 US per mangrove.
Individual trees can be tracked online or through an app.
Guests receive a unique tree code, geolocation, and virtual access to their tree for the next 10 years.
They can also gift the tree to their loved ones and name it to create a unique experience and bond.
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, said: “Through the programme we aim to streamline all mangrove efforts launched from Abu Dhabi under one umbrella, to assist in achieving the government goals to reach net-zero by 2050.”
Globally, mangroves store approximately 6.4billion tonnes of carbon, almost four times more than other terrestrial forests. At a rate of just more than 12kg a year, the average mangrove captures over 300kgs of CO2 in its 25-year lifetime, helping to fight the effects of climate change such as coral bleaching and coastline degradation, and support biodiversity and wildlife.
The Etihad Mangroves Forest site has been chosen specifically due to its protected status under the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, which guarantees its ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere for at least 100 years.
Through the platform’s app, investors can “chat” with their chatbot enabled tree, while also being able to track every tree with satellite maps and access data, including CO2 consumption metrics which can be tracked and offset against emissions.
Etihad Airways‘ guest members will be able to invest in the Etihad Mangrove Forest using Etihad Guest Miles in the Reward Shop from March, while a range of additional options to meet corporate partner requirements and provide bundled-offset options packaged within the ticket for individual travellers are being developed. Abu Dhabi for the World.