25 January 2022

GreenAir News

Reporting on aviation and the environment

JetBlue launches corporate sustainable travel programme with a focus on offering SAF certificates

JetBlue has become the latest US carrier to offer its corporate customers the opportunity to reduce their business travel emissions through the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Its new Sustainable Travel Partners programme also offers complimentary carbon offsetting on all domestic flights operated by JetBlue, personalised travel data and analysis for more accurate emissions reporting and consultation and tools for custom planning and target-setting to help support the partners in making more sustainable travel decisions. Launch customers for the programme include Biogen, Deloitte, ICF and Salesforce, who will be able to reduce their Scope 3 travel emissions through the purchase of JetBlue-generated SAF certificates, while assisting the airline to cover the current SAF cost premium. The programme’s partners will be helping source around 325,000 gallons of SAF, resulting in a reduction of 2,730 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

“As our business customers return to the skies, they increasingly have been asking for our support in meeting their net zero and sustainable travel goals,” said Sara Bogdan, JetBlue’s Director of Sustainability and Environmental Social Governance. “JetBlue has extensive expertise in decarbonising air travel thanks to our early and leading commitments and supply agreements. We’re now extending these options to our corporate customers so that for the first time, they can play a direct role in enhancing the sustainability of their air travel when flying with JetBlue.”

Since July 2020, the airline has used SAF as a component of its fuel supply from Neste out of San Francisco International Airport and, since July 2021, from World Energy on flights from Los Angeles International. It recently revealed a deal with SG Preston to purchase 67 million gallons of blended SAF a year for use at Northeast US airports over 10 years. The agreement brings JetBlue’s SAF offtake commitments based on a percentage of total fuel to around 8%, which it says is on track to meet its goal of converting 10% of total fuel use to SAF “years ahead” of its 2030 target.

Offering corporate customers the opportunity to purchase SAF certificates will not only help the airline cover the cost premium but also stimulate the emerging SAF market, said JetBlue, which it believes is critical for the aviation industry to reach its net zero goal.

Verification standards for SAF certificates are currently being formulated by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA). “We continue to monitor the evolution of the SAF certificate space and fully support the development of further structure around these certificates, and as founding members of the new SABA Aviators Group, we are able to remain engaged and adhere to these standards when they become available,” Bogdan told GreenAir.

“The certificates we are providing our corporate customers today are generated in-house at JetBlue and contain key data provided to us from our SAF producers. We are also managing a new inventory of SAF certificates to ensure we are closely accounting for each gallon of SAF delivered to us and associated certificates generated to ensure no double-selling.”

In building the programme, Bogdan said the airline wanted to go beyond just offering SAF certificates. “We recognise there’s no one solution to achieving net zero, so we designed it offering what we see as the key levers our partners can pull to further the sustainability of their corporate travel,” she said. “As a partner in this programme, our customers can purchase JetBlue-generated SAF certificates but they also have access to personalised emissions reporting on their JetBlue flights, expert guidance and target-setting support, along with our complimentary carbon offsetting of all domestic travel.”

In July 2020, JetBlue became the first US airline to voluntarily offset domestic CO2 emissions, purchasing offsets that are audited, verified and retired on its behalf by its three partners: Carbonfund.org, EcoAct and South Pole. Projects that reduce or avoid CO2 emissions are selected from around the world and focused on forestry, landfill gas capture, solar and wind.

“As Sustainable Travel Partners, JetBlue’s customers can benefit from enhanced reporting on our complimentary carbon offsets, as well as review opportunities to expand offsetting utilising our offsetting expertise and business partners,” said the airline.

JetBlue points out that business travellers have not previously had the ability to estimate their air travel emissions in a personalised, accurate or granular way.

“Through the programme, we are saving partners the effort of inaccurate guesswork by offering emissions reporting based on traveller’s actual flying and JetBlue’s average actual fuel burn on those routes,” it said. “Our intent is to provide partners with more accurate emissions reporting by sharing actual operational data, as well as incorporating the airline’s own emissions reduction initiatives into emissions reporting.”

JetBlue is also working to include travel emissions data into Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud software, which it hopes to make available to the other programme partners. For corporate customers who purchase SAF certificates, JetBlue will also provide emissions reporting highlighting the estimated emissions reduction associated with the SAF.

“Whether an organisation is just starting to look at how they can implement sustainability goals and need some guidance or have an already developed sustainability programme with requirements for precision reporting, JetBlue seeks to approach each Sustainable Travel Partner as just that – a partner in our shared goal of making more sustainable travel decisions,” said Bogdan. “An example of this is our work with Salesforce to integrate JetBlue’s flight data into their Net Zero Cloud.”

Commented Patrick Flynn, VP and Global Head of Sustainability at Salesforce: “We are proud to join JetBlue’s Sustainable Travel Partners programme to help accelerate the aviation industry’s journey to net zero. The urgency of this climate emergency means we need all-of-the-above strategies. For us that includes helping incentivise emerging clean technologies like sustainable aviation fuels and working with partners like SABA to lower barriers to scale and cost reduction.”

Said ICF CEO John Wasson: “As the first professional services firm in the world to reach carbon neutral status in 2006, sustainability is part of our company’s DNA. As we continue to pursue our own ambitious carbon reduction targets, we’re thrilled to partner with JetBlue to help other companies achieve their sustainability targets too.”

Added Dr Alphonse Galdes, Head of Pharmaceutical Operations and Technology at Biogen: “Climate action is essential for human and planetary wellbeing. Yet if we hope to make a substantive impact in this area, we must come together across industries to re-examine the way we work, the way we live and the way we consume energy. By becoming an inaugural member of JetBlue’s programme, we are proud to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and their associated impacts, as well as utilise more accurate data to inform travel decisions in the future.”

In November 2021, JetBlue joined SABA, a joint initiative with RMI, Environmental Defense Fund and a group of corporate travellers and US airline to help drive investment in high-integrity SAF. The previous month it became a launch member of the Aviation Climate Taskforce, a new non-profit organisation founded alongside nine other global airlines and Boston Consulting Group to accelerate breakthroughs in emerging technologies to decarbonise aviation.

Photo: JetBlue