Amsterdam's new start-up FlyGRN was launched last week – a search engine that compares thousands of flights of different airlines worldwide and (partially) offsets the CO2 emissions of flights booked through its website. In doing so, the website hopes to take a big step in reducing CO2 emissions of the aviation sector.
The aviation sector is growing, which in turn increases its impact on the environment. Because air travel is excluded from climate agreements, FlyGRN is taking matters into its own hands. When a visitor books a flight through FlyGRN, the website will automatically offset the user’s CO2 emissions, either fully or partially. That’s possible with the fee that the search engine receives from its partners. The consumer doesn’t have to compromise on flight options or prices.
Since flights on FlyGRN are often just as cheap and sometimes even cheaper than those of their competitors, searching for flights through this website is certainly worth the while. Visitors who search a flight through FlyGRN can compare on different characteristics, such as the airline, travel time, or number of stops, and they can automatically see the climate impact of their flight. The website indicates the percentage of the flight’s emissions that FlyGRN offsets for free. After booking, site visitors get the option to purchase the remaining percentage themselves. This is often just a few dollars.
In addition to reducing the CO2 emissions of air travel, FlyGRN also aims to provide more awareness in the environmental impact of a flight. Few people know the exact impact their flight has, and only a small percentage of travelers actually offset their flight. Moreover, the way that this offsetting works is not always transparent.
One of the reasons why FlyGRN is created is due to frustration about a lack of transparency of the current CO2 offsetting services. When offsetting flights, it is often unclear exactly what happens with the CO2 compensation and where the money goes to. FlyGRN attaches great value to providing as many details as possible on the CO2 certificates. If you book a flight through the search engine, you will receive an online CO2 certificate with a personalized certificate number. This certificate contains transparent information, such as which offsetting projects are supported and where the money ends up. If a visitor has booked their flight elsewhere, FlyGRN offers the option to manually offset the CO2 emissions with their CO2 calculator.
Of course, to be really sustainable it’s better not to fly. That is why the search engine also provides alternative options for traveling 'differently' or locally. For example, if there is an option for alternative means to travel, it is shown on the website. When a visitor of the website searches for a flight from Amsterdam to Paris, an alternative route by train is shown as well. It is also possible to compare hotels and rental cars on the site. FlyGRN will plant a tree for every 100 euros spent on hotels or rental cars.
So how's this project related to smart cities? As you might know, Amsterdam has a large air travel hub, contributing to air pollution in the city. With innovations like FlyGRN, we'll motivate users at least on an international scale to offset their flight, thus reducing emissions globally. But we'll also motivate users to catch Amsterdam's national and international rail network when users search for flights if there's a suitable train alternative available.
Aviation is currently responsible for 2% of the total CO2 emissions per year. It is expected that – if nothing changes – this will double in twenty years. By (partially) offsetting the CO2 emissions of a booked flight for free, FlyGRN takes an important step in reducing emissions in the travel industry. More info at https://flygrn.com