Finnair stops emissions credit scheme and biofuel flights after police complaint

The National Police Board advised the airline that programmes to offset carbon emissions or buy biofuel are in breach of the law.

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File picture of Finnair plane / Credit: Finnair

Finnair is stopping its ‘Push for Change’ emissions credit scheme and biofuel flights after a complaint by police.

Authorities consider it an illegal fundraising activity because the scheme offers passengers the chance to purchase biofuel or to support a project in Mozambique supplying fuel-efficient stoves in rural communities.

“The reason for the discontinuation is that the National Police Board of Finland has deemed that the service is subject to the Money Collection Act, and as such cannot be run by a company” Finnair tells News Now Finland

The carbon offsetting service will be discontinued, and in future Finnair will integrate all emissions and biofuel options into its ticket purchasing instead.

“This is unfortunate for our customers, as their interest in reducing their carbon footprint has been clear and the service has been gaining popularity month after month” says Anne Larilahti, Finnair’s Director of Responsibility in a statement.

How does Finnair offset emissions?

Launched in 2019, the ‘Push for Change‘ scheme gave passengers the chance to either support the Mozambique initiative – at a maximum cost of €6 for a return intercontinental flight – or invest up to €65 a time to by biofuel to power a Finnair plane.

Separately, Finnair also has its own offsetting targets as part of mandatory participation in the EU’s emissions trading scheme. In 2018 the airline paid €11.8 million euros into the scheme. It’s also part of an offsetting programme called CORSIA which is an industry-wide compensation mechanism for managing aviation emissions. In addition, Finnair also pays carbon offsets for all its own staff business travel.

“Our customers have a strong desire to make responsible choices, and we want to continue to engage them in reducing the carbon footprint of our flights. Our goal is long-term carbon neutrality, and everyone’s contribution is needed to achieve it” says Anne Larilahti.

Funds already collected for biofuel will be used to fly flights from San Francisco to Helsinki during spring 2020, the airline says.