How do you reduce carbon emissions while continuing business air travel? By investing in sustainable fuel with a network of top airlines.
As part of WorldClimate, we are focused on driving responsible climate choices, including a commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 -- ahead of the 2050 timeframe set by the Paris Agreement. This will require a substantial reduction in emissions from air travel, a significant part of Deloitte’s carbon footprint in pre-pandemic times. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy entails collaboration across the broader business ecosystem in order to drive innovative solutions at scale.
As part of our commitment to reducing carbon emissions as part of WorldClimate, Deloitte has entered into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) agreements with several US airlines—American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines—which will cover a portion of Deloitte’s business travel. Through our SAF collaborations to date, we will be avoiding the emissions from approximately 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to approximately 16,000 passengers flying one way from NYC to LA).
The SAF agreements between:
- American Airlines and Deloitte will reduce life cycle emissions from aviation by approximately 3,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- Delta Air Lines and Deloitte will reduce life cycle emissions from aviation by approximately 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- United Airlines and Deloitte will be part of United's new Eco-Skies AllianceSM program, the largest SAF program to date. As an inaugural participant, Deloitte will be one of several Eco-Skies Alliance leaders that will work with United to collectively purchase emissions reductions from 3.4 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel this year.
SAF is made from renewable waste materials, such as used cooking oil. Unlike fossil fuels which release additional carbon, SAF recycles CO2 emissions that were emitted previously and subsequently absorbed from the atmosphere during biomass production.1 Sustainable aviation fuel reduces the life cycle carbon emissions from airline fuel by up to 80% when used in pure form, compared to fossil jet fuel. Crucially, it's compatible with existing airplanes and aviation fueling infrastructure.2
These collaborations are a critical early step for the future of sustainable business travel—uniting the goals of a large business organization seeking to reduce their carbon footprint with US airlines that already use SAF in their daily operations. The investment in SAF is one way for Deloitte to actually avoid generating carbon emissions within our own value chain, as opposed to solely retroactively purchasing carbon offsets for emissions already generated.
The SAF certificate concept, under development by the World Economic Forum's Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative, sets out to increase sustainable fuel production by aligning ambitious corporate sustainability goals with the aviation industry. Businesses that buy into SAF agreements pay a green premium on this investment in cleaner fuel technologies, as opposed to the initial cost burden being placed on either consumers or producers. Through this agreement, Deloitte takes an important step toward our goal of reducing business travel emissions by 50% per FTE by 2030.
Through our SAF collaborations to date, we will be avoiding the emissions from approximately 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to approximately 16,000 passengers flying one way from NYC to LA).
The regular and widespread use of SAF is expected to be pivotal in reducing aviation emissions. That being said, it is a new market solution and not yet available at the scale or price needed to be the primary source of fuel for US airlines. Through these initial SAF agreements, Deloitte is leading efforts to create more market demand for SAF, with the goal of increasing availability and affordability and further SAF development. A cost-effective business model and an increased supply of SAF will allow us to meet our own sustainability goals and help accelerate the transition to lower-carbon air travel. To this end, Deloitte is also one of the founding members of the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA), launched by RMI and the Environmental Defense Fund. SABA supports and provides momentum to existing airline-company agreements, while driving investment and production of SAF and furthering technological innovation in the field of sustainable aviation.
Businesses have an opportunity to play a key role in addressing climate change by redesigning day-to-day experiences. Regardless of exactly what business travel will look like in a post-pandemic world, joint initiatives like these help Deloitte continue to serve our clients in a way that reflects our commitment to sustainability.