Date of Graduation

Fall 12-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Zavestoski


While the need for travel exists in the field of International Studies and in light of the very complex global climate crisis and increased international commercial air travel this paper catalogs and analyzes the trailblazing voluntary carbon offset programs of 1) Air New Zealand, 2) British Airways (IAG), 3) Cathay Pacific, 4) Emirates, 5) Lufthansa, 6) Qantas, 7) Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and 8) United Airlines, arguing that voluntary carbon offsets as a response to the global climate crisis are ineffective and an echo to international agreements being unenforceable. The paper is hopeful for a corporate focus on technology and innovation in addition to offsets in the aviation industry as well as in other industries and contains a notable example in the case of SAS airlines. The airline data, in the Airline Data Table and Airline Data Details sections, serve as evidence that the state indeed has a role in environmental solutions. The conclusions draw categorical comparisons, some very objective such as the existence of a carbon calculator, the origin of the airline, the carbon offset partner referenced and the more subjective and the crux of my findings: the local/global situation of voluntary carbon offset programs and the individual/corporate responsibility for each of the eight airlines detailed. Finally, this thesis contributes a framework for similar studies in other sectors and details further applied research.