With hundreds of private jets set to descend on Switzerland as the World Economic Forum in Davos gets under way this week, business aviation entities are looking to provide some counterpoints to answer critics who use the annual conference to criticize the industry. Most critics completely or largely ignore the industry’s efforts to reduce emissions. In 2021, the industry committed to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Its original pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% was made in 2009.
“The rich and powerful are flocking to Davos in private jets to discuss the global economy and climate behind closed doors as winter temperature records are broken across Europe. Private jets are the most polluting mode of travel and it is profoundly unfair that a select few can emit huge amounts of carbon, while the most vulnerable face the greatest damage from climate change. The EU must ban private jets and unnecessary short flights to start tackling the climate crisis in a fair way,” Greenpeace’s Lorelei Limousin said in a statement last week. The group promotes the hashtag #banprivatejets. Recently, theme park heiress Abigail Disney stepped up her campaign against the segment, tweeting in part, “Private jets are cancer.”
Private aviation is responsible for only 2% of total aviation carbon emissions, and aviation is only 2.1% of total human-caused carbon emissions, meaning private aircraft emit 0.04% of global human-caused CO2 emissions. However, the industry is using Davos to highlight ways private fliers can do their part to reduce emissions. Jet Aviation’s Zurich location offers attendees sustainable jet fuel through its Book & Claim program. Sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, reduces CO2 emissions from aviation by up to 80%. Book & Claim allows flyers to purchase SAF even in places where it is not available.
“We are committed to providing sustainable choices for our customers,” says David Paddock, president of Jet Aviation, adding: “We also understand that achieving a more sustainable future is not just about the services we provide, but how we provide them and how we operate in the communities in which we operate. Book & Claim enables anyone traveling to and from Davos to support sustainability and develop 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 that gives a customer (Customer A) the ability to purchase SAF that is not physically available at the desired location, but is consumed elsewhere, or reserved, by another customer ( Customer B). Part of the receivables of this transaction is customer A who realizes an environmental benefit or credit associated with the SAF.” This means by using Book & Claim, even when SAF is not available; you are able to claim benefits against any compliance report you or your company has or just being good to the environment.
Book & Claim complements numerous other flight provider initiatives. More than two dozen jet card and fractional card providers also offer carbon offsets, either included in hourly rates or available to customers for purchase. Berkshire Hathaway NetJets and Directional Aviation, parent companies of Flexjet, Sentient Jet, FXAir and PrivateFly, have invested in sustainable fuel producers. Some go further than just offsetting CO2 emissions from flying. Sentient Jet offsets 300% of carbon emissions to account for additional climate impacting emissions. VistaJet has committed to being carbon neutral as a company by 2025. Charter broker Victor offers Book & Claim for all flights, enabling its customers to purchase SAF for their journeys. 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 to have reduced our carbon dioxide emissions by 40% over the past 40 years,” said ICBA CEO and SAF Coalition Board Co-Chair Kurt Edwards as part of the Jet Aviation announcement. The National Business Aviation Association reports that SAF production doubled last year. Supplies are expected to grow by more than 400% between 2022 and 2025. While private aviation plays a key role in enabling businesses to exist and thrive in locations not well served by airlines, by flying for life-saving organ transplants and bringing emergency services and stocks after a natural disaster, expect a flurry of stories calling for a ban on private jets.