Mr Freitag, you recently leased a forest area near Augsburg. What prompted you to do so?
Economic activities fundamentally have an impact on the environment. Augsburg Airways is aware of the responsibility this entails. We therefore developed an in-house programme to reduce negative environmental effects and to compensate for unavoidable impacts as far as possible.
What exactly do we mean by this? To what extent does the “company-owned” forest contribute to this?
Our forest is actually a raised bog, which can store 6 times more CO2 than a normal forest. In the
first step, we bought about 1500 square metres of raised bog, which stores almost 150 tonnes of CO2. In fact, the storage capacity is much higher, but only the top layer (50cm) is used for the calculation.
Your company is active throughout Europe and you leave your ecological footprint worldwide. What is the role of your forest at the gates of Augsburg?
We are very much rooted in the region with our companies and work together with regional partners as far as possible. For this reason, we have chosen a project in our region in addition to the global projects, because it is not decisive for our climate where greenhouse gases are emitted or avoided. Therefore, emissions caused in one place can also be compensated by offsetting them in another, more distant place.
You just mentioned the global projects. How does Augsburg Airways participate in the global projects and what are they?
Augsburg Airways’ carbon offset programme supports numerous projects that reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere released by flights by investing in green energy or promoting CO2 absorption. Examples of such projects include more efficient cook cookers in Kenya, reforestation in Uruguay or biogas plants in China. Support is mainly provided through the purchase of so-called CO2 offset certificates.
Are the offsetting contributions automatically included with every flight?
Many of our customers already offset their CO2 in other ways. Therefore, it seemed fairer to us to leave the decision for compensation to each customer. However, we always offer this as an option.
The term “ecological footprint” has been mentioned several times. What does it mean?
The term can be seen as a kind of balance sheet. Savings and offsets are kept on the credit side and the emissions caused are kept on the debit side.
The goal of every company must be a positive “ecological balance sheet”.
What does Augsburg Airways’ balance sheet look like?
At this point in time, even though we are still a young company, we can say that Augsburg Airways is completely climate neutral. We even go one step further and offset almost a third more Co2 than we cause. Unfortunately, technical progress in aviation is not yet ready to be fully sustainable. We are convinced that aviation is essential for global trade and the economy. For this reason, we believe in going beyond carbon offsetting.