Aeroplan offers carbon offsets


MONTREAL (TVLW) – The Aeroplan customer loyalty program has a new travel theme song – and it’s distinctly green.

Aeroplan Income Fund, best known as operator of Air Canada’s frequent-flyer program, has launched its carbon-offset plan, calling it “another industry first.”

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The goal is to let Aeroplan members offset the carbon emissions generated by reward travel, said chief executive Rupert Duchesne. Members, when booking online, can use their Aeroplan Miles to offset the flight’s carbon emissions.

Or they can redeem their miles for carbon-offset credits found in Aeroplan’s online activities and merchandise catalogue.

When a member books online, the “cost” is shown in miles and also the number of miles required to offset the estimated carbon emissions. He or she can choose to use accumulated miles, or decline.

If the member used 15,000 accumulated miles for a trip, for instance, Aeroplan would set aside 20 per cent, or 3,000 more miles, for a total of 18,000 miles.

At the end of each month, a spokesperson said, all the reward travel carbon-offset miles will be tallied and converted to dollars to contribute to the new non-profit Carbon Reduction Fund.

The fund, in turn, backs energy efficiency and other environmental projects -75 per cent in Canada.

Aeroplan said it has already contributed 2.5 million miles to the fund, and partners American Express and CIBC have together added 4 million miles.

“This program offers members the opportunity to personally act against climate change,” Duchesne added. They can enjoy their travel rewards in an environmentally friendly way.

“Global warming is an issue for me, and I’d be happy to be carbon-neutral,” said one analyst.

“Aeroplan may well have a first, but the program is primarily a marketing tool rather than implying any immediate economic gain for unitholders.”