Qantas and BP unveil strategic partnership to reduce carbon emissions

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd and BP PLC on Thursday announced a strategic partnership to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation sector in Australia as part of their goals to become carbon neutral companies by 2050.

The agreement, along with Air New Zealand Ltd on Thursday backing the New Zealand government’s decision to implement a biofuels mandate to cut carbon emissions in the transport sector, is a sign that the coronavirus pandemic has not killed long-term industry environmental goals.

Qantas and BP said they will jointly explore opportunities and projects in areas including advanced sustainable fuels, advocacy for further decarbonisation in the aviation sector, renewable power solutions and generation, carbon management and emerging technology.

“This is another move towards our ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and help the world to get to net zero,” BP Australia President Frederic Baudry said.

Qantas said the pandemic had not changed its target of becoming net carbon neutral by 2050 and even though it had been flying less, the same proportion of customers had been choosing to purchase emissions offsets.

“Airlines globally have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change, particularly once travel demand starts to return,” Qantas Group Executive Government Andrew Parker said.

Air New Zealand said COVID-19 had not slowed its commitment to decarbonising its business. It has been part of a sustainable aviation fuel consortium for the past five years in partnership with Z Energy and others, to develop a roadmap for sustainable aviation fuel to become the norm for air travel in New Zealand.

“While we see hydrogen-powered or electric aircraft as viable options for our domestic and short haul network, being able to access sustainable aviation fuels at a competitive price will be very important for us when it comes to decarbonising our long haul operations,” Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran said.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Sam Holmes