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Finnair changes emissions offset scheme in light of police board opinion

The company said it plans to offer carbon offset and biofuel purchases to customers as they buy flight tickets.

Finnairin lentokone Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä.
Finnair Airbus A350 on tarmac at Helsinki Airport (file photo). Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Finland's national airline Finnair said it is adjusting its popular emissions offset and biofuel programmes which gave passengers the opportunity to pay compensation for the carbon emissions caused by the company's planes.

The reason the airline said it was changing the voluntary programme because the National Police Board considers the current scheme to be in violation of the country's laws on fundraising - as companies are not permitted to collect donations.

"This is a pity for our customers, as there has been a clear interest in reducing carbon footprint and the service had become increasingly popular. Together our customers have offset nearly 6,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide," Finnair's sustainability manager Anne Larilahti said in a company release issued Monday.

Yle's All Points North podcast looked at plans for a possible flight tax in Finland. You can listen to the programme via this embedded player, Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your normal podcast player using the RSS feed.

Story continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

Going forward, instead of being voluntary, the company's carbon offset and biofuel purchase schemes will be offered to customers as they order tickets.

"Our customers have a strong will to make responsible choices and we want them with us to work on reducing carbon emissions. Our long-term goal is for [the company] to become entirely carbon neutral," Larilahti stated.

Push for Change scheme

The firm's emissions offset programme, marketed as a "Push for Change", allowed passengers to donate to carbon offset projects.

In 2019 the company admitted to Yle News that the sales pitch for the carbon offsets on the firm's website was 'misleading' and promised to change it.

According to the Finniar website, the cost of offsetting a round trip domestic flight was one euro, while European and international return flights cost two euros and six euros, respectively.

The airline sends donations to emissions reduction projects in Mozambique, Africa through the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (Nefco), a financial institution founded by governments of the five Nordic countries in 1990.

The money donated by Finnair passengers has been put toward the purchase of biofuels and emissions reductions projects which support the use of fuel efficient stoves in Mozambique, according to the company.

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