Total teams up with GoodPlanet Foundation to make pledge on offsetting emissions from company plane travel via Adilabad biogas project

Oil giant Total has teamed up with NGO GoodPlanet Foundation to ink an agreement for a project to deploy 8,400 biodiegesters in Telangana State, India, to improve the lives of 45,000 people and contribute to tackling climate change.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, President of the GoodPlanet Foundation, and Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total, signed the agreement today (20th November).

This voluntary carbon neutrality initiative, eligible for certified carbon credits, will avoid the emission of 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year for a period of ten years. That is equivalent to all emissions generated by plane travel by Total employees.

Designed for use by households, biodigesters utilise a fermentation process to convert livestock manure into biogas for cooking and hot water. The solids that remain after fermentation are then used as a nutrient source for crops. Millions of households in India use wood as their primary fuel.

The Adilabad district is located in the northern region of Telangana, India. According to Total, the benefits pf the Adilabad project will include:

  • A strong, positive environmental impact, by limiting deforestation.
  • An important social impact, by reducing or completely eliminating the time women and children spend gathering wood.
  • Improved health and living conditions, especially for women and children, by reducing the risk of respiratory and eye infections caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Reduced spending on fuel for cooking and synthetic fertilisers.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, president of the GoodPlanet Foundation, said: “Since 2006, I have been encouraging companies and individuals to offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their air travel. That’s why the GoodPlanet Foundation has created the Social Carbon Offsets programme.

“Our projects are eligible for certified carbon credits and deliver positive outcomes for local communities that can be measured in terms of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. I’m very pleased that Total will be working with us to measure, reduce and offset carbon emissions from its air travel in a project that will provide 45,000 people in India with clean energy.”

‘Broader strategy’

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total, said: “We are delighted to partner with the GoodPlanet Foundation, recognised for its commitment to environmental, climate and social issues.

“The project is aligned with Total’s broader strategy to tackle climate change and make us the responsible energy major. It also delivers significant benefits in terms of access to affordable, reliable, clean energy for as many people as possible.”

According to Total, this project in India was selected because of the country’s pivotal role in achieving the Paris Climate Agreement’s 2°C objective and because of the GoodPlanet Foundation’s expertise in the region. The Adilabad project is starting up this month. The first biodigesters will be operational in 2018.

At the same time, Total will also set up initiatives to increase employee awareness of their carbon footprint and ways to offset air travel, with the support of the GoodPlanet Foundation, specialised in environmental education and concrete action. 

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight. 

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