Following two years of intensive research and development, innovation and transformation through its Greenliner program to tackle aviation decarbonisation, Etihad Airways in collaboration with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi have launched the Etihad Mangrove Forest to provide guests, corporate accounts and partners the ability to adopt mangroves in Abu Dhabi to reduce their carbon footprint.
In line with the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Programme by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, the Etihad Mangrove Forest is the culmination of multiple joint programmes between Etihad, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Jubail Island, The Storey Group and other partners to support mangrove conservation projects in the nation and develop new carbon sinks and natural resources to remove carbon from the atmosphere following our principle “Abu Dhabi for the World”.
Following the launch of the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Programme, the organisations are aligned under an on-going MoU to tackle local and national environmental goals, including decarbonisation, waste management and single use plastics reduction. Biodiversity is the next step for Etihad to explore the promotion of conservation efforts for the native mangroves of the UAE.
Using a unique digital platform, the Etihad Mangrove Forest will allow guests and partners to invest in carbon removal for AED 18.5 (USD5) per mangrove, where the individual trees can be tracked online or through an app. The guest receives a unique tree code, geolocation, and virtual access to their tree for the next 10 years. The guest can gift the tree to their loved ones and name the tree to create a unique experience and bond.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Over the last two years Etihad has developed an extensive programme to tackle the challenge of aviation sustainability. We have focused on innovation and technology to develop carbon reducing processes and operational efficiencies that will benefit the industry, as well as building partnerships and collaborations to lead a united industry response to decarbonisation through the most comprehensive, cross organisational sustainability aviation initiative ever undertaken.
“The Etihad Mangrove Forest is the next step in our sustainability journey to ensure our responsibility to remove carbon from the atmosphere is progressing. The intent is to create forests on all continents we fly to, and to provide our guests with an engaging opportunity to take part in the solution.
“We know offsetting unavoidable emissions alone isn’t going to solve the climate crisis, we need to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. Even with the best-case scenario global decarbonization drive, we will still need to remove 6-10 Gt of CO2 per year by 2050 to stay below 1.5 °C global warming. The Etihad Mangrove Forest will contribute to this task. We invite and encourage our guests and partners to join us on this journey as we know from first-hand experience it is a topic many care passionately about and will impact us all.”
Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri – Secretary General – Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, added: “Abu Dhabi Mangrove Programme aims to establish the emirate as a global hub for research and innovation in support of the conservation of mangroves. Through the programme we aim to streamline all mangrove efforts launched from Abu Dhabi under one umbrella, to assist in achieving the government goals to reach net-zero by 2050.”
Globally, mangroves store approximately 6.4billion tonnes of carbon, almost four times more than other terrestrial forests. At a rate of just more than 12kg a year, the average mangrove captures over 300kgs of CO2 in its 25-year lifetime, helping to fight the effects of climate change such as coral bleaching and coastline degradation, and support biodiversity and wildlife.
The Etihad Mangroves Forrest site has been chosen specifically due to its protected status under the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, which guarantees its ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere for at least 100-years.
Through the platform’s app, investors can “chat” with their chatbot enabled tree, while also being able to track every tree with satellite maps and access data, including CO2 consumption metrics which can be tracked and offset against emissions.
Etihad Guest Members will be able to invest in the Etihad Mangrove Forest using Etihad Guest Miles in the Reward Shop from March, while a range of additional options to meet corporate partner requirements and provide bundled-offset options packaged within the ticket for individual travellers are being developed. Abu Dhabi for the World.