A clearly labelled Ethiopian Airlines

23 July 2021

A question of labelling ?

Should emission disclosure become mandatory

The International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT for short), a California based non-profit organisation recently published a detailed document outlining the carbon savings passengers can make if they choose one itinerary over another. They've written about this before but this publication seems to have hit a nerve and has been widely covered.

This is fantastic and very welcome news. Data from the report was also recently included in the UK Government Consultation that we wrote about recently.

Here's a few highlights from the report that we found particular interesting.

The report mentions offset programmes.

However, these online calculators do not provide specific information on carrier or aircraft type and cannot be used by consumers to choose less-emitting flights; they are mostly intended to assist in calculating the carbon offsets needed for a typical flight on a given route.

This was the issue we encountered again and again while we were building Lite.Flights. Every offset calculation was based on an average flight for a given journey, but there is no such thing. Your choice of airline & aircraft really matters. Every flight carries its own configuration. Almost all carbon offset programmes (with one exception as far as we know) do not take the aircraft type into consideration. They all rely on a generic average for a route.

Let's move on to the meat of the matter:

When deployed with integrity, labels can provide concise and easy-to-digest information for environmentally conscious consumers, but they are also susceptible to being over-simplified and misleading. In contrast, direct disclosure of emissions tends to be more objective and informative.

Our ranking system is divided into the following labels, please note we don't use the word green anywhere, none of these even if you pick the 'best' option is green by any means.

The flight ranking system at Lite.Flights. Ok, Average, Poor or Terrible.

We rank journeys either as Ok, Average, Poor or Terrible.

A search results on Lite.Flights sorts flight based on those labels. If you want to find out the CO₂ footprint and how far off (or close) it us from the ideal aircraft for a given route, you simply expand the result.

One day when electrical and or hydrogen powered aircraft are flying we will add labels such as Amazing, Green and so forth but we are not there yet, in the meantime this is the start.

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