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Combating Climate Change through Carbon Neutrality

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The Initiative of Yeti Airlines

Yeti Airlines, in a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, has become the first airline in Nepal and probably South Asia to become carbon neutral. This is a major step that the company has taken towards meeting SDG# 13 which is ‘Climate Action’.

A glimpse of Yeti Airline’s journey towards carbon neutrality

The company produced 19,665 tons of carbon equivalent in 2018. Becoming a carbon neutral aircraft led the company to take some major steps and undergo some drastic changes. Our Glocal Khabar reporter, Mahima Poddar, interviewed the team of Yeti Airlines to gain more information on how the company underwent this process.

1. Will carbon neutrality of Yeti Airlines also help it gain a competitive advantage in this extremely fast-growing airline industry?

While we conducted this project for carbon neutrality, we always had a futuristic vision and we thought about our future generations. Our future generation needs a clean environment to live in too and we all have to take steps towards it. Today, there are so many talks about climate change going on and an action will be expected out of all of us in the future. The competitive edge we have had here is that we have taken this action in a fast-paced manner.

The overwhelming aspect for Yeti Airlines as a result of this project has been the heightened support of expat communities who are extremely conscious about environmental care. Consumers feel proud to associate themselves with Yeti which is quite visible by their social media posts itself. It’s really warm to see so many consumers posting pictures in their social media using hashtags like ‘#IamgoingcleanwithYETI.

2. Has the carbon neutrality of Yeti Airlines been promoted in the minds of the consumers to increase consumer preferences?

We haven’t done a direct promotion for the customers forcing them to come to us because of our carbon neutrality. However, subconsciously a message has been given to the consumers that we have taken a step towards climate change and their association with us would mean that they would also be doing something for the greater good.

3. As Yeti Airlines transformed itself from being an aircraft with huge carbon emissions to being carbon neutral, the company went into a drastic change into its operations. Were there any specific challenges that the company went through while bringing these changes

The company had planned its carbon neutrality since 2017 itself. Since, everything had been pre-planned the process of becoming carbon neutral looked smooth and we all had it in our minds that we had to do something about climate change.

Initially, in 2017, we did face a little hesitance from the different stakeholders who were confused and didn’t believe that something like going carbon neutral was truly possible for an aircraft company. We did, however, prove that it is possible and with a little hesitance but a lot of support we were able to pull this plan off well and meet the SDG #13 by taking a ‘Climate Action’.

4. How did Yeti Airlines take steps towards being climate neutral?

Yeti Airlines took steps towards becoming carbon neutral in two ways – by offsetting through the process of carbon trading and by reducing through some creative ways.

With UN’s “Greening the Blue” approach, Yeti Airlines initially went through the process of carbon audit. According to the audit, we were producing 19,665 tons of CO2 in 2018.

We found some creative ways to reduce the carbon emission. We stopped using the conventional longer routes and started using shorter flight routes so that the carbon emission could be reduced in the process. Not only that, we started using more fuel efficient aircrafts which reduced our carbon emissions by 12%.

 Furthermore, we have also taken initiatives like using special cameras in our air-routes which provides us prior information about weather conditions so that we can take decisions whether to fly or not fly accordingly. Earlier, when didn’t use such technology, a lot of fuel consumption and carbon emission took place in the procedure of flying the aircrafts that got stuck midway and had to return back.

Alongside reducing our carbon emission, we have also managed to offset the greenhouse gas emissions by procuring Certified Emission Reductions carbon credits through certified projects from UNFCCC platform.

5. As the process of becoming carbon neutral must have been quite expensive, how did the company take care of its profits being a profit-generating organization?

Rather than going with the approach of beginning the process and then later worrying about the expenses we had a budget allocated for our carbon neutrality. We knew we would give all our heart to the project and we managed to conduct the project under the budget allocations that were set pre-hand at the beginning of the year itself. The separate budget allocation helped us conduct our process smoothly.

6. As Yeti Airlines has become the first company in Nepal and in fact even in South Asia to become a carbon neutral company, don’t you think it is a strength of the company through which it can represent Nepal in the international arena?

We are slowly taking steps towards representing Nepal in the international arena through our ‘Climate change’ action. We have pledged to be the active participating member in “Climate Neutral Now” an initiative launched by UN Climate Change in 2015. We were in fact the first airline company to be its member. UN Climate Neutral Now has also been sharing our stories and through such steps we look forward to strongly representing Nepal in the international platform.

Moreover, we are willing to become a part of a “2019 Global Climate Change Award”. We have undergone the first phase and are slowly moving towards the second one.

Article by: Mahima Poddar