How to claim your flight emissions when flying on sustainable aviation fuels

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Laia Barbarà, Lead, Aviation Decarbonization, World Economic Forum, Julia Fidler, Manager, Group Sustainability Program, Microsoft, Amy Malaki, Head, Policy & Sustainability, SkyNRG, Bettina Paschke, Vice President, ESG Accounting, Reporting and Controlling, DHL Express

  • The Sustainable Aviation Fuel certificate (SAFc) Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidelines enable those within the aviation value chain to claim for their respective flight emissions when flying on Sustainable Aviation Fuels.
  • Corporate and private customers looking to reduce their scope 1 and 3 emissions from flying can create a strong, long demand signal for certified emissions reductions from the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels.
  • With the support of governments and stakeholders global aviation can transition to net zero.

Leaders in the aviation industry set out ambitious Sustainable Aviation Fuel certificate (SAFc) Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidelines, under the Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition. These new guidelines, authored by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with RMI and PwC Netherlands, have been co-developed with 30 industry leaders, including Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Novo Nordisk, DHL, Microsoft and SkyNRG, and will enable multiple parties within the aviation value chain to claim for their respective flight emissions when flying on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

Corporate and private customers looking to reduce their scope 1 and 3 emissions from flying can create a strong, sustained demand signal for certified emissions reductions from the use of SAF. For this to occur, however, it is vital that clear and standardised accounting and reporting guidance is developed, so that corporate and private aviation consumers can unlock the environmental attributes of SAF. This will also ensure environmental integrity and avoid potential negative outcomes.


What is the World Economic Forum doing to help aviation meet net zero goals?

Through the Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition, stakeholders across the European aviation value-chain have aligned on key policy proposals to inform the RefuelEU initiative. Taken together, this industry-backed policy package provides a clearly defined strategy to scaling SAF in the EU – focused on measures that collectively increase both SAF supply and demand signals for creating a balanced market.

Developed through the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition, this policy report is accessible on the Forum’s digital library and signed by Airbus Group, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Dubai Airports, Groupe ADP, Heathrow Airport, International Airlines Group, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Ørsted, Royal Dutch Shell, Royal Schiphol Groupe, SkyNRG, The Boeing Company, and Velocys, Inc.

From offsetting to insetting flight emissions

Emissions accounting and reporting for SAF is not trivial given the many complexities from feedstock to final fuel. This publication marks a critical step in creating a standardised approach to support sustainable aviation fuel as an insetting solution to reduce Scope 1 and 3 emissions and in developing a standardised approach. This is fundamental to a consistent and robust book and claim system for use across the value chain to account for the life-cycle assessment-based environmental benefits of SAF. With these guidelines in place, corporates and private aviation customers can play their part in creating a strong demand signal for the certified emission reductions associated with the use of SAF and SAFc.

Importantly, these guidelines are designed to aid the disclosure of voluntary SAF purchases and cover scope 1 and 3 emissions claims. The accounting framework has been designed for claims that go above and beyond mandatory sustainable aviation fuel requirements. Specifically, these guidelines offer detailed step-by-step instructions, including recommended accounting calculation methods and reporting procedures, for the five key personas: SAF suppliers; airlines; corporate travellers; private aircraft and air freight.

Piloting the first sustainable aviation fuel transactions

After publishing the SAFc Accounting and Reporting Guidelines, the implementation phase is kick-starting today. To ensure the guidelines are fit for purpose, SkyNRG (a SAF supplier) working in close coordination with the World Economic Forum, RMI and PwC Netherlands, will start piloting sustainable aviation fuel transactions with partners that span across the five accounting personas, with the aim of identifying areas for improvement.

Several leaders of the SAF industry have been selected as the first pilot participants; including Novo Nordisk, GEODIS, DHL, Microsoft, Cargolux and others. SkyNRG will provide them with the necessary GHG-related data of its SAF and the pilot participants will use it to process and account for the emissions reductions of their SAFc purchases according to their accounting persona. The feedback will be collected and anonymised for use in updating a subsequent version of the guidelines.

“We as, DP DHL Group, have set ambitious goals to decarbonise our operations and aim to use 30% Sustainable Aviation Fuel in our operations in 2030.,” explains Dr. Klaus Hufschlag, SVP Sustainability Reporting & Controlling, Deutsche Post DHL Group. “This requires clear rules on how to account for emission reductions by using SAF in our aviation network. The SAFc Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidelines is a key step forward to providing that guidance. The next step is to use the rules in our pilot transactions and bring the standard to life.”

Julia Fidler, Group Sustainability Manager at Microsoft, adds: “Participation in this pilot has offered an important learning opportunity as we work towards our commitment to being Carbon Negative by 2030.”

These pilot transactions will also provide proof of concept and generate insights to further refine and improve the usability of a future version of the guidelines. Additionally, the pilots aim to provide a proof point for how a robust accounting framework can enable accelerated uptake of sustainable aviation fuel across the value chain.

Clean Skies for Tomorrow mobilises the value chain to deliver net-zero

This has been an important year for sustainable aviation marked by the recent adoption of the Long Term Aspirational Goal for Net-Zero by 2050 at the 41st ICAO Assembly. Led by the World Economic Forum, the Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition has started its journey from ambition to action, tackling each of the key levers identified in the Aviation Transition Strategy in supporting the net-zero transition by mid-century:

1. It brings certainty to governments and investors through technology deep dives and country roadmaps, such as the recent Power-to-Liquid Deep Dive and the consequent United Arab Emirates Roadmap.

2. It has initiated a series of dialogues between the aviation industry and leading financial institutions on de-risking and financing opportunities for SAF plants.

3. It supports countries adopt policies that accelerate the uptake of SAFs, as done with the SAF Policy Toolkit developed in partnership with the SAF Ambassador countries.

4. It developed and published the SAFc Accounting and Reporting Guidelines, conceptualising a new accounting framework and standard that facilitates procurement of sustainable aviation fuel by allowing SAF emissions reductions to be claimed by fuel suppliers, airlines, corporate travellers, private aircraft and freight operators.

With the support from governments and the collaboration of stakeholders along the aviation value chain, together we can make the transition of global aviation to net zero a success story.

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