Abu Dhabi: People around the world can now invest reducing their carbon footprints by adopting a mangrove in Abu Dhabi.
The Etihad Mangrove Forest programme is an effort by Etihad Airways, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi’s environment sector regulator, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD).
Invest in carbon removal
Using a digital platform, the Etihad Mangrove Forest will allow guests and partners to invest in carbon removal for Dh18.5 ($5) per mangrove, where the individual trees can be tracked online or through an app. The ‘investor’ will receive the code and geolocation of a unique tree, as well as virtual access to their tree for the next 10 years. The investor can also gift the tree to a loved one, and name the tree to create a unique experience and bond.
The unique project is a result of two years of intensive research and development, innovation and transformation by Etihad Airways, through its Greenliner programme, to tackle aviation decarbonisation.
The Etihad Mangrove Forest is in line with the EAD’s Abu Dhabi Mangrove Programme, and a culmination of multiple joint programmes between Etihad, EAD, Jubail Island, The Storey Group, and other partners. The aim is to support mangrove conservation projects in the UAE, and develop new carbon sinks and natural resources to remove carbon from the atmosphere following our principle “Abu Dhabi for the World”.
Under the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Programme, the organisations are aligned under an ongoing agreement to tackle local and national environmental goals, including decarbonisation, waste management and single use plastics reduction.
“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,” said Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer at Etihad Aviation Group.
“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,” Douglas said.
Necessity of carbon removal
“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 decarbonisation drive, we will still need to remove six to 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year by 2050 to stay below 1.5 degree Celsius 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,” he 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,” said Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD secretary general.
Globally, mangroves store approximately 6.4 billion tonnes of carbon, almost four times more than other terrestrial forests. At a rate of just more than 12 kilograms a year, the average mangrove captures over 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide during its 25-year lifetime. This helps fight the effects of climate change, including coral bleaching and coastline degradation, and also supports biodiversity and wildlife.
The Etihad Mangroves Forrest site has been chosen specifically due to its protected status under the EAD, which guarantees its ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere for at least 100 years.
Through the platform’s app, investors can also ‘chat’ with their chatbot-enabled tree, and track it through satellite maps. The investor can also access data, and offset CO2 consumption metrics against emissions.