In a major leap forward for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) adoption, several major corporations, including Bank of America, Boom Supersonic, Boston Consulting Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Meta, and clean energy nonprofit RMI, have joined forces through the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA) to purchase SAF certificates at scale. This collaboration represents a significant strengthening of the demand signal from aviation customers for SAF, a drop-in fuel made from renewable or waste feedstocks that can significantly reduce carbon emissions from flights.
The Market for Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Currently, SAF represents less than 0.1% of the global jet fuel supply and sells at a significant premium to fossil jet fuel. However, the SAF involved in the SABA transaction, produced by World Energy, reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by 84% compared to conventional jet fuel. SABA members are purchasing SAF certificates linked to 850,000 gallons of this high-integrity SAF, which is being used to fuel JetBlue flights this year.
“World Energy is honored to be the fuel producer for SABA’s first aggregated SAF purchase. At this pivotal moment SABA plays an important role in addressing aircraft emissions by cultivating trust in SAF and making corporate actions to decarbonize aviation possible,” said Adam Klauber, VP of Sustainability & ESG at World Energy.
To ensure that the fuel met key sustainability criteria, the procurement process required proposals to demonstrate alignment with SABA’s goal of scaling the market for high-integrity SAF. ENGIE Impact provided expert support in managing the process and selecting the winning bid.
“ENGIE Impact has developed purchasing strategies and individual SAF RFPs for major companies and well-known brands, but we were honored to design and execute this first collective procurement process,” said Andre de Fontaine, director of Sustainability Solutions, ENGIE Impact Americas.
Through purchasing SAF certificates, corporations are paying some or all of the premium associated with SAF to pursue decarbonization efforts that directly reduce emissions in the aviation sector. SAF certificates also provide standardization and transparency for accounting and reporting certified GHG reductions, essential funding to increase purchases of SAF, and a demand signal for fuel producers to make more high-integrity SAF, which in turn influences SAF cost competitiveness with conventional jet fuel.
Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance
SABA, formed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and RMI, aims to accelerate the path to net-zero aviation by building the system needed to credibly scale investment in and adoption of SAF.
Following the success of this first joint procurement, SABA is launching its second competitive procurement process. The initiative will be open to all airlines and fuel providers, to procure SAF certificates across a five-year timeframe. With expectations to increase its annual collective demand by more than 10 times compared to this first process.
Members will also be piloting a new registry to bring more transparency, consistency, and integrity to the emerging SAF certificate market. Building trust in the certificate system is crucial to convincing more companies to purchase SAF certificates and accelerate the shift to sustainable aviation.
“Our support and purchase of SAF through SABA is one way in which we are working to meet our goal of utilizing SAF for at least 20% of the company’s annual employee aviation fuel usage by 2030 while spurring broader demand to make SAF more accessible and affordable,” said Alex Liftman, Global Environmental Executive at Bank of America. “We are proud to be a leader in the adoption of SAF and look forward to supporting further aviation advancements as part of the bank’s $1.5 trillion sustainable finance commitment.”
Just last month, JetBlue and Shell Aviation announced a new collaboration aimed at bringing more sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Per JetBlue’s 2021 Sustainability Report, the company observed a 35% decrease from 2019 mostly from reduced flying due to COVID-19 impacts, but also further reduction due to fuel efficiency initiatives and SAF deliveries. The airline aims to achieve net zero by 2040, which is a decade ahead of the industry’s target. To increase its supply of SAF