Deloitte and American Airlines are to collaborate on an initiative that will enable carbon emissions from business travel undertaken by the global auditing firm to be offset through the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The agreement will reduce life-cycle aviation emissions by 3,050 tonnes, equivalent, says the airline, to around 10,000 passengers flying one-way from New York to Los Angeles. The partnership will explore how a certificate that allocates the emissions reduction value of SAF, currently under development by the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition, can benefit companies seeking to reduce their Scope 3 business travel emissions. In early 2020, American committed to purchase 9 million gallons of SAF over three years from renewable jet fuel producer Neste, with first deliveries taken at San Francisco International Airport in July 2020. The airline has a goal of sourcing 2.5 million gigajoules of cost-competitive renewable energy by 2025.
The collaboration with Deloitte is the first between a US airline and an organisation seeking to reduce its business travel emissions through the use of SAF, claims American. Dutch airline KLM launched its Corporate BioFuel Programme – recently renamed the Corporate SAF Programme – in 2012, which now has 16 partners. Lufthansa also offers its business customers the opportunity to offset emissions through SAF. Deloitte has a goal to reduce its business travel emissions per employee by 50% by 2030.
“We recognise the important role the business community plays in facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy. It’s a monumental task no organisation can solve alone, which is why we’re looking forward to working with American Airlines on a new concept to accelerate adoption of a fuel source that can dramatically reduce emissions from aviation,” said Joe Ucuzoglu, US CEO of Deloitte. “To make meaningful progress in combating climate change, it’s crucial that organisations continue to collaborate through innovative solutions and bold actions.”
The SAF certificate is aimed at unlocking new capital to boost SAF production while enhancing corporate climate goals to reduce emissions from business travel. American Airlines is a member of the WEF Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition.
“The most immediate action to achieve carbon-neutral flying is the investment in, and rapid scale-up of, SAF production and use – which in turn will require innovative regulatory mechanisms and clear demand signals,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of the Shaping the Future of Mobility programme at the World Economic Forum. “We’re delighted to see this demonstration by Deloitte and American Airlines that a new market-based mechanism is viable and can help meet the needs of corporations with ambitious climate goals.”
American Airlines joined with other members of the oneworld airline alliance last year in committing to a net-zero emissions goal by 2050 (see article). According to its latest ESG report, the airline says increasing the use of SAF has to be a core part of its low-carbon pathway but there remain significant challenges to the availability of SAF in the quantities and at the prices necessary to materially reduce emissions in the near term. Although at the time of the Neste agreement announcement it was the largest single SAF purchasing commitment from the industry, American says it represented considerably less than 1% of the airline’s total annual fuel consumption.
“Investing in the decarbonisation of aviation is an imperative for our company and our industry,” said American’s CEO Doug Parker, commenting on the Deloitte partnership and the SAF certificate. “As we work towards our own goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, we know we can help accelerate the transition to low-carbon air travel through collaborations like these, meeting the needs of our customers and the planet. We are proud and excited to be working with Deloitte to advance our shared vision for a more sustainable future.”
Photo: American Airlines