Blockchain in Voluntary Carbon Markets: A Case Study in the Scandinavian Aviation Industry

Bettina Hoem Gudim & Yvette Carolan

Student thesis: Master thesis


As a result of the substantial growth in environmental awareness amongst the public over the past decades, the demand for sustainable business practices has contributed to an insurgence of climate-supporting initiatives across corporations and industries. One such initiative is found in the aviation industry, where airlines are implementing voluntary carbon offsetting schemes that provide passengers with the ability to counteract the carbon emissions of their flights. Despite the introduction of measures aimed at mitigating the carbon footprint in this industry, studies show that the adoption amongst air travellers is low. In light of this, the purpose of this research is to identify the most prominent area of improvement in the current practice of
voluntary carbon offsetting, and subsequently analyse how blockchain technology can facilitate an improvement of the issue. Viewing the Scandinavian aviation industry as a single case study, this research employs embedded cases to allow for a more detailed level of inquiry. These sub-units of analysis consist of two Scandinavian airlines: SAS and Wider√łe, and a carbon offsetting partner: Chooose. In order to provide a comprehensive analysis of the area of research, this thesis makes use of a mixed-methods approach incorporating qualitative semi-structured interviews with the aviation-related actors and blockchain experts, in addition to a consumer-oriented questionnaire. This research identifies the lack of transparency from a consumer perspective as the most prominent area of improvement in the practice of voluntary carbon offsetting in the Scandinavian aviation industry. At present, the extent of information visible to the endconsumer reaches no further than the airline, with all subsequent linkages of the supply chain being obscured. It is uncovered that the inhibited transparency is contributed to the non-existent interoperability between data systems and lack of granularity of information. Founded upon these insights, this research proposes a conceptual design aimed at alleviating the identified pain points. Exploiting the inherent properties of blockchain technology, this solution is found to possess the capabilities necessary to facilitate increased transparency from a consumer perspective.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Finance and Investments, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages123