Doug Gollan writing for Forbes – Reports
With hundreds of private jets set to descend on Switzerland as the World Economic Forum in Davos gets underway this week, business aviation entities are seeking to provide some counterpoints to answer critics who use the annual conference to rail against the industry. Most critics completely or largely ignore industry efforts to reduce emissions. In 2021 the industry pledged to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Its original pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% was made back in 2009.
“The rich and powerful flock to Davos in private jets to discuss global economics and the climate behind closed doors while winter temperature records are broken all over Europe. Private jets are the most polluting way to travel, and it’s deeply unfair that a select few can emit huge amounts of carbon while the most vulnerable face the brunt of the damage from climate breakdown. The EU must ban private jets and needless short flights to start tackling the climate crisis in an equitable way,” Greenpeace’s Lorelei Limousin said in a release issued last week. The group is promoting the hashtag #banprivatejets. Recently, theme park heiress Abigail Disney stepped up her campaign against the segment, tweeting in part, “Private jets are a cancer.”
Private aviation is responsible for just 2% of aviation’s total carbon output, and aviation is just 2.1% of overall human-induced carbon emissions, meaning that private jets emit 0.04% of global human-induced CO2 emissions. However, the industry is using Davos to highlight ways private flyers can do their part to reduce emissions. Jet Aviation’s Zurich location is offering attendees Sustainable Aviation Fuel via its Book & Claim program. Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF, reduces aviation CO2 emissions by up to 80%. Book & Claim allows flyers to buy SAF even in locations where it’s not available.
“We are committed to providing sustainable choices for our customers,” says Jet Aviation President, David Paddock, adding, “We also recognize that achieving a more sustainable future is not just about the services we provide, but how we provide them and how we do business in the communities in which we operate. Book & Claim allows anyone traveling to and from Davos to support sustainability and grow the market for sustainable aviation fuels.”
So, how does Book & Claim work?
According to the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, “Book & Claim is a transactional process which gives a purchaser (Purchaser A) the option to buy SAF that is not physically available at a preferred location but is consumed somewhere else, or booked, by another purchaser (Purchaser B). The Claim portion of this transaction is Purchaser A realizing the environmental benefit or credit associated with SAF.” That means by using Book & Claim, even when SAF isn’t available; you are able to claim the benefits against any compliance reporting you or your company have, or just to be nice to the environment.
Book & Claim complements numerous other flight provider initiatives. More than two dozen jet card and fractional providers also offer carbon offsets, either included in hourly rates or available for customers to purchase. Berkshire Hathaway’s NetJets and Directional Aviation, parent of Flexjet, Sentient Jet, FXAir and PrivateFly, have both invested in sustainable fuel producers. Some are going farther than just offsetting CO2 emissions from flying. Sentient Jet offsets 300% of carbon emissions to account for additional climate-impacting emissions. VistaJet has pledged to be carbon neutral as a company by 2025. Charter broker Victor offers Book & Claim for all flights, allowing its customers to purchase SAF for their trips. 4Air works with operators, FBOs, corporate flight departments and others in business aviation to audit and provide solutions to achieve climate-neutral operations.
“Business aviation is deeply committed to climate action, and we are proud that we have reduced our carbon emissions 40% over the past 40 years,” said International Business Aviation Council Director General and SAF Coalition Steering Committee Co-Chair Kurt Edwards as part of the Jet Aviation announcement. The National Business Aviation Association reports SAF production doubled last year. Supplies are expected to grow more than 400% between 2022 and 2025. While private aviation plays a critical role in allowing businesses to exist and thrive in locations not well-served by the airlines, flying lifesaving organ transplants and bringing first-responders and supplies after natural disasters, expect a slew of stories calling for private jets to be banned.