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  • Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance

Major organizations channel nearly $200 million into SAF market in largest-ever collection of certificate deals


The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance announced April 17 the largest-ever collection of deals to purchase high-integrity sustainable aviation fuel certificates (SAFc).

 

Over the span of five years, companies including AstraZeneca, Autodesk, Bain & Company, BCG, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, Live Nation, McKinsey & Company, Meta, Morgan Stanley, Netflix, Novo Nordisk, Samsung Biologics, Watershed, and Workday alongside SABA founding organization RMI, have committed to channel close to $200 million into purchasing SAFc—equal to about 50 million gallons of high integrity SAF or 500,000 tons of abated CO2e.

 

This is roughly equivalent to the emissions of 3,000 fully loaded passenger flights from New York City to London.

 

This multiyear collection of deals, which involves close to 20 corporate-aviation customers, four fuel providers and three airlines, demonstrates the power of corporate demand to scale up investments in promising sustainable fuels that can drive decarbonization of the aviation industry.

 

Many of the participants are new to the SAFc market, which speaks to the critical role SABA plays in lowering barriers to entry and educating stakeholders as it helps to build the SAF certificate market.

 

“Sustainable aviation fuel is one of the most promising pathways to large-scale aviation-emissions abatement,” said Claire Kiely, the head of marketplace carbon supply at Watershed. “SABA is helping to lower barriers to adoption and build the SAF sector through pioneering action, and Watershed is proud to include our customers in this latest historic purchase. Like SABA, we believe economy-wide decarbonization can accelerate when corporate climate leaders work together.”

 

David Webb, chief sustainability officer of BCG, added, “We are delighted to take another significant step towards our commitment to net-zero climate impact. As we continue to optimize our business-travel emissions, we recognize the crucial role that lower-carbon air travel plays in meeting global climate targets. The sustainable aviation fuel industry is rapidly evolving, and we are enthusiastic about its potential to scale and support a more sustainable, global economy. We are excited to work with SABA in their efforts to support players in the SAF industry.”

 

SAF is a drop-in fuel made with renewable or waste feedstocks.

 

It can be used in today’s aircraft without investments to upgrade existing fleets and infrastructure and can significantly reduce the carbon pollution from flight.

 

SAF purchased through the SABA transaction will achieve, on average, an 80 percent reduction in carbon intensity relative to conventional jet fuel, with sustainability performance certified by third parties across the fuel’s supply chain.

 

While the industry is growing rapidly, SAF still makes up less than 0.5 percent of global jet-fuel supply and today sells at a premium compared to fossil jet fuel. 

 

“This SABA procurement shows the power of prominent global companies demanding high-integrity sustainable aviation fuels,” said Elizabeth Sturcken, the managing director at Environmental Defense Fund, a SABA co-founder. “High-integrity sustainable aviation fuels are available right now, and we must work to rapidly scale their production to decarbonize air travel. The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance plays a critical role in helping companies identify and purchase the highest-integrity sustainable aviation fuels to accelerate progress toward net-zero goals.”

 

Purchasing SAF certificates allows corporate travelers to invest in SAF and capture the environmental benefits, even if the fuel does not flow directly into the planes they fly on.

 

The travelers’ investment allows them to make a greenhouse-gas emissions-reduction claim on their climate disclosures, while the physical SAF flows to an aircraft operator.

 

Through this transaction, SABA is advancing new models for buying and selling SAFc, with SABA members working with airline partners such as Alaska Air, JetBlue and Southwest; securing certificates through SAF solutions provider SkyNRG; and purchasing directly from fuel providers, including significant, multiyear agreements with World Energy.

 

Different fuel types are being purchased through this set of agreements, including novel power-to-liquids, or eFuels, produced by Twelve, and offered in partnership with Alaska.

 

This fuel is made from renewable electricity and CO2, with exceptionally low greenhouse-gas impacts, and high potential for scalability.

 

“As global demand for aviation and SAF grows, partners like SABA will be increasingly crucial to bring the full range of aviation stakeholders to the table,” said Nicholas Flanders, co-founder and CEO of Twelve. “Innovative power-to-liquid fuels will deliver deeper emissions reductions but need the support of airlines and corporations in order to scale. We’re proud to join with SABA and its collective of forward-minded corporate customers, airlines, and fellow fuel providers to deliver eJet fuel and help pioneer the market for high-integrity SAF certificates.”

 

The multiyear deals are especially critical in driving scale in the SAF market.

 

Long-term certainty about demand helps fuel producers secure financing for future plant expansions and bring more sustainable aviation fuel to market.

 

“Creating an ecosystem that equips companies from all economic sectors to access more SAF is part of our mission,” said Adam Klauber, World Energy’s vice president of sustainability and digital supply chain. “World Energy is proud to collaborate to help scope 3 customers achieve their net-zero goals and dramatically increase SAF production with these long-term contracts.”

 

Susan Goldsmith, the sustainability leader at Deloitte U.S., added, “Reducing emissions from business travel is a core element of Deloitte’s sustainability strategy. We are proud to be evolving our SAF procurement approach to multiyear agreements to further signal demand and appreciate and applaud SABA’s role in supporting its membership to advance the SAFc market.”

 

To bring greater transparency and integrity to the sale and purchase of these environmental attributes, SABA co-founders RMI and EDF developed the digital SAFc Registry, which is being used as the central platform to record the SAF certificates purchased through this RFP.

 

Building on industry best practices, the digital registry creates an auditable ledger to ensure that purchased SAF certificates realize their intended environmental impact and can be claimed toward emissions-reduction goals.

 

“We’re proud to support SABA’s ongoing work to accelerate the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels, both as a customer helping signal strong voluntary demand for low-emissions fuels, and through our work on the SAFc Registry,” said Bryan Fisher, the managing director at the clean-energy nonprofit RMI. “The SAFc Registry plays a critical role in the SAF ecosystem by bringing greater consistency and transparency to SAFc transactions, building trust along the SAF value chain, and helping send a strong demand signal for the low-carbon fuels needed to decarbonize the aviation sector.”

 

This multiyear procurement builds on the success of SABA’s pilot procurement last year, which brought together major aviation customers to purchase SAFc for nearly 850,000 gallons of high-integrity SAF.

 

By expanding the procurement process to include multiple fuel providers and airlines, SABA customers are able to invest in a range of fuel types and help bring new technologies to market.

 

“Building off the success of our first SAF agreement with SABA, we’re thrilled to again work with this growing community of organizations seeking to accelerate a lower-carbon future of aviation,” said Sara Bogdan, JetBlue’s managing director of sustainability and ESG. “The purchasing power of SABA and its members not only sends a strong demand message for additional sustainable aviation fuel, but the shared benefit helps fuel more JetBlue fights with SAF than we could hope to achieve on our own.”

 

Brian DiMarino, the deputy director of global sustainability at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said, “Deeper decarbonization of the aviation sector will require significantly scaling the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel and other low-carbon technologies. We’re excited to partner with SABA as investments in SAF and SAF certificates are critical to rapidly reducing costs, scaling both production and distribution of sustainable aviation fuel and driving technological innovation to reduce carbon emissions in aviation.”

 

While the SABA-led transaction is a major milestone, it also exposed the significant work still required to fulfill global ambitions for decarbonized air travel.

 

Available SAF volumes that met SABA’s requirements came nowhere close to meeting the full demand from SABA customers in 2024 and 2025.

 

SABA looks forward to growing its collaboration with corporate customers, airlines, fuel providers, standard-setting bodies and other NGOs to build a high-quality, scalable market for SAFc.

 

Plans for a new collective-procurement process are underway that will combine forward-looking agreements for novel fuel technologies with mechanisms to allow companies to buy commercially available, high-integrity SAFc on an ongoing basis.

 

“The only way to drive structural change in hard-to-abate sectors like aviation is to shake up existing business models,” said Kim Carnahan, the head of SABA’s secretariat and CEO of Neoteric Energy and Climate. “The recent announcement from the Science Based Targets initiative opening the door to the use of market-based approaches to address scope 3 emissions only elevates the importance of SABA’s book-and-claim system as an innovative and environmentally robust avenue for customers to drive aviation decarbonization.” 

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