Mumbai: Some travel and logistics companies are charging a small premium from customers who want to take part in activities that will reduce carbon emissions.
Experts and company representatives said that the companies going green will have an advantage in securing contracts and customers are keen to take part in such initiatives even though they have to pay a little more.
Blue Dart Express Ltd and its German logistics parent DHL Express have started charging an additional Rs 9 per kg for international parcels and Rs 1 per kg for domestic one for carbon-neutral services. For documents, the charge will be an additional 50 paise a document. Blue Dart and DHL handle small parcels of cargo and office-related documents.
The offset charges are purely optional and the company will reinvest the money collected in environmental protection projects verified by Societe Generale de Surveillance, or SGS, a United Nations independent auditor. A certificate, verified by SGS, will be issued to the customer annually that will mention the total amount of CO2 offset per customer.
Online travel company MakeMyTrip India Pvt. Ltd is giving customers an option to pay an additional amount to plant saplings based on the CO2 that will be generated on a particular trip. For instance, MakeMyTrip calculates that a Mumbai-Delhi flight will generate 216kg of CO2 and hence it offers a traveller the option to make a donation to Seva Mandir, an NGO that works in the field of afforestation.
Passengers will be able to donate a minimum of Rs 44 a ticket for two saplings to Rs 396 per ticket for planting 18 saplings to completely account for the carbon footprint of the trip.
“Consumers appreciate companies which are green,” said Jamshyd Godrej, chairman of Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd, who is campaigning for green businesses and green buildings. He did not comment on specific initiatives undertaken by various transport companies. Ajay Shankar, a former industry secretary, said companies that are sensitive to the environment now will be ahead of the curve when they are exposed to international business opportunities.
Domestic airlines have already started assessing carbon emissions, although the Indian government has asked them not to submit that data to the European Union for a new levy that will become applicable starting 1 January for flights to Europe.
R.S. Subramanian, country manager, DHL Express India, says its Go Green initiative will help customers reduce the carbon footprints on their shipments while only costing marginally more
Indian carriers that fly to Europe, including Air India Ltd, Jet Airways (India) Ltd and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, may have to pay more than Rs 300 crore in the first year alone if the new levy is enforced, according to according to industry estimates. European Union representatives said the scheme is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.
Vineet Kanaujia, general manager (marketing) at logistics company Safexpress Pvt. Ltd, said his company is considering a plan to charge a small premium for carbon neutral services. “On the carbon-offset front, India is at very nascent stage. However, we have launched go-green initiatives,” Kanaujia said.
Anil Khanna, managing director of Blue Dart, said his company is also taking various other measures to go green, including using bicycles for shorter routes instead of motorbikes. Khanna said his company has selected various routes in residential areas in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore that can be covered by bicycle.
“We also switch off the lights for half an hour during the day in the office and employees are doing similar things at home as well,” Khanna said.
Charging more to be green-friendly isn’t likely to dent business even during a slowdown, since the amount is as little as an additional 50 paise per document, Khanna said.
Damco, a logistics company and a unit of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, tied up with MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (MIT-CTL) to draw up carbon neutral measures in 2010. MIT-CTL is a unit of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Accurate mapping of the supply chains, identification and management of CO2 hotspots is critical for companies to be able to take the right actions to reduce their carbon emissions and significantly cut costs,” Erling Johns Nielsen, global head of Damco’s supply chain development practice, said in a statement.