While we’re excited to see that business and leisure travel are on a steady pace to return to pre-COVID levels, we’re very aware that this return to the skies includes a synchronous rise in greenhouse emissions. Current estimates project that aviation will once more produce 3 percent of carbon emissions and greenhouse gases once travel returns, and that number will only rise as economies globalize.
But thankfully, spurred by the rise in worldwide sustainability initiatives and a fresh new post-pandemic outlook, the travel industry can work to curb those emissions.
One of the most promising paths to greener efforts is through the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), or fuel synthesized from renewable feedstocks such as municipal waste and agricultural residues. A source of fuel that’s already vetted and in use with multiple airlines and airports, SAF is not a work of fiction: It has already fueled more than quarter million commercial flights. While further studies are needed, to ensure it will be an economically viable and scalable option, its promise is exciting.
That’s why The TripActions Group is excited to today announce its partnership with Neste, the world’s largest producer of sustainable aviation fuel. This move makes TripActions and Reed & Mackay, which have always been at the forefront of corporate travel sustainability, the world’s first corporate travel and spend solution to enable customers to purchase SAF directly from the producer and supply it to the airlines.
The partnership will further corporate sustainability efforts, including the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) guidance for the aviation sector that many customers of TripActions follow. SBTi principles recognize SAF (rather than offsetting) as a solution for corporate customers to meet emissions targets for business travel. It’s an important effort in conjunction with the Biden administration, which earlier this month announced a goal of [replacing all jet fuel with sustainable alternatives](https://www.washingtonpost.com/s/transportation/2021/09/09/jets-sustainable-aviation-fuel-goal/) by 2050. If 3 billion gallons of sustainable fuels can be produced annually by 2030, carbon emissions from air travel would be cut by 20 percent from today’s volumes.
This latest announcement is only part of a larger commitment to sustainability already underway at TripActions. In 2019, TripActions began offering customers the ability to opt in to the reception of carbon impact data at the corporate and traveler level. And early in 2021, TripActions released three new products as part of its Sustainability Suite, including carbon emissions budgeting, a real-time CO2 analytics dashboard, and a new emissions calculator.
“As a group, TripActions strongly believes in promoting and enabling the sustainability efforts of our customers,” says Ariel Cohen, TripActions Co-founder and CEO. “SAF has emerged as a promising lower-emission alternative to fossil fuel, and as an innovation leader, TripActions is proud to help increase its availability to our customers in support of their science-based targets.”