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SAO PAULO, May 19 (Reuters) - Brazil's largest airline, TAM, has bought 100,000 voluntary carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions from extra flights it will operate during the FIFA 2014 World Cup which starts next month, the company said on Monday.
TAM, a subsidiary of Chile's Latam Airlines Group, said the amount of credits will be more than enough to offset emissions from the expected 750 extra flights it will conduct in Brazil during the month-long competition.
The company would not disclose the price paid for the credits, which were sold by Sao Paulo-based Sustainable Carbon, a low-carbon projects developer.
Stefano Merlin, Sustainable Carbon's CEO, said the credits were issued under the Verified Carbon Standards (VCS), a benchmark standard for the voluntary carbon markets.
"These are premium credits that carry additional certifications, such as Social Carbon or Gold Standard, due to their social co-benefits," he said.
TAM said the credits come from six projects in Brazil that reduce emissions by switching fuels in power units, discarding fossil sources and using renewable biomass.
Part of the proceeds from these projects' credit sales is invested in social programs for communities situated close to the projects' sites.
The airline said only the extra flights related to the World Cup will be covered by the program at this point.
TAM said it is evaluating offsetting possibilities for the next three years along with its parent company Latam Airlines Group.
The aviation industry is under pressure from environmental groups to reduce its carbon footprint.
According to global airline body IATA, air transport produced 689 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2012, accounting for around 2 percent of global CO2 emissions.
IATA has set a target for the industry to reduce net aviation CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; editing by Matthew Lewis)