• Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Defense Fund, RMI and major companies launch Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance


RMI and Environmental Defense Fund launched the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance supported by founding companies Boeing, BCG, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Netflix and Salesforce. SABA’s mission is to accelerate the path to net-zero aviation by driving investment in high-quality sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), catalyzing new SAF production and technological innovation, and supporting member engagement in policymaking.


Despite a temporary setback in global air travel due to COVID, aviation’s contribution to climate change is expected to grow in the coming years. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, demand for jet fuel could reach double pre-pandemic levels by 2050.


“The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance adds momentum to existing airline company partnerships that support the purchase of sustainable aviation fuels,” said Kelley Kizzier, vice president of the Global Climate program at EDF. “SABA will build on the work of these early movers, many of whom seek a more scalable, standardized approach, by establishing a SAF certificate system with robust environmental criteria. Working with sustainability certification schemes, this system will verify and track emission reductions from SAF so that companies, organizations and even individual travelers can achieve their ambitious climate goals.”


SABA is one piece of a much broader global effort to decarbonize aviation. The environmental community and the International Air Transport Association and its members have been championing the role of SAF for more than a decade. The International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition incubated many of the concepts SABA now takes forward to implementation.


“We are excited to work with the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance and like-minded initiatives to develop the SAF certificate registry system, which will help make robust SAF certificates a reality for the broader community Clean Skies has worked so hard to build,” said Christoph Wolff, global head of mobility at the World Economic Forum.


“SABA will build on the strong foundation of these global efforts, and develop a system that enables SAF to grow at the same pace and scale that renewable electricity grew over the last decade,” said Ned Harvey, managing director of climate intelligence with RMI. “The benefits of investing in SAF will go beyond the aviation sector, creating vast new clean energy jobs and new, sustainable revenue sources for farmers and tech innovators.”


Key aspects of SABA’s work will include:


  • Education and Policy Support: SABA will help members navigate the technical aspects of SAF and the SAF market, aviation emissions accounting, and the SAF policy landscape.


  • Technology Innovation: SABA will assess emerging SAF technologies and work with like-minded organizations to help address barriers to scale and cost reduction.


  • Investment Opportunity: SABA will establish a rigorous, transparent SAF certificate system enabling air transport customers—not only aircraft operators—to invest in high-quality SAF to meet their ambitious climate goals.


“The time is ripe to launch SABA now, as we begin to return to the skies and gather to celebrate Earth Day and support the U.S. Climate Summit,” said SABA Secretariat lead Kim Carnahan, former U.S. chief negotiator for climate change and director of disruption technologies at ENGIE Impact. “Today is just the beginning for SABA. We will announce additional founding companies soon and plan to open for broad membership at the COP26 climate conference in November.”


“We are proud to be a founding member of SABA and support its efforts to aggregate and increase demand for lower-carbon aviation fuel,” said Scott Corwin, Deloitte U.S. leader for sustainability and climate change. “Efforts such as SABA are important to harnessing the power of the market to set in motion and sustain the innovations needed to create a zero-carbon future.”


Sheila Remes, Boeing vice president of environmental sustainability, said, “Boeing has been a pioneer in making sustainable aviation fuels a reality, and we recently set the ambitious goal to make our commercial airplanes capable and certified to fly on 100 percent SAF by 2030. SABA provides us with the opportunity to reduce our business travel emissions through SAF certificates, while incentivizing more sustainable fuel production that will allow access for others, as well.”


A recording of the webinar held April 20 with the founding companies is available here.


Visit business.edf.org/saba for more information.

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