Delta has signed a deal with Deloitte, one of its corporate customers, to purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The agreement is to initially purchase enough SAF to “represent a lifecycle emissions reduction of approximately 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide”. The airline says this is “equivalent to carbon sequestered by 1,306 acres of U.S. forests or 756 football fields in one year”.
The agreement covers only ‘a portion’ of Deloitte’s business travel, but Delta sees the collaboration with Deloitte as “one of the first of what the airline hopes will be many significant achievements” for both “carbon reduction and removal and stakeholder engagement.”
For its part, Deloitte has committed to an ambitious target of being net zero by 2030.
In its “2020 Global Impact Report”, the firm says that “all carbon emissions resulting from air travel in FY2019 were offset through the purchase of third-party-verified carbon credits, and the purchase of a combination of renewable energy or offsets to address all travel-related (air, auto, hotel, etc.) and all other energy-related FY2020 emissions is underway.”
“Deloitte’s carbon-reduction goals set in FY2019 included an 11 per cent reduction in business travel by FY2025. In the latter half of FY2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cessation of business travel for Deloitte professionals and for many Deloitte clients. This unexpected forced grounding has opened up new examinations of how Deloitte does business while continuing to serve clients effectively. As the world emerges from the pandemic, Deloitte is rethinking some of the traditional ways in which it operates, particularly business travel. Deloitte leaders anticipate continuing to serve clients effectively and grow the business, while also reducing travel below pre-pandemic levels.”
For the partnership, Delta has entered into an SAF supply agreement with Neste, “a leading producer of low emission, renewable fuel for aircraft”.
Neste’s SAF is made from “sustainably sourced, renewable waste and residue materials”. It is a drop-in fuel, meaning it can be added to traditional aviation fuel and so “offers an immediate way to directly reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from aviation”.
Neste signed a supply agreement for SAF with Shell Aviation last year. Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel annual capacity is currently 100,000 tons. With an expansion of its Singapore refinery underway, and “with possible additional investment into the Rotterdam refinery”, Neste says it will have the capacity to produce “some 1.5 million tons of SAF annually by 2023”.
Delta says that SAF is “an important lever to reduce the lifecycle carbon emissions from aviation fuel, up to 80 percent when used in pure form compared to fossil jet fuel, and has great potential to scale”. It believes that “Collaborations like this, between Delta and Deloitte, further support SAF development and represent the growing demand for innovations in clean fuel technologies.”
“This is just the beginning. We are grateful for Deloitte and our corporate customers and partners joining us on this important journey,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO.
SAF can be controversial. There are many different types, and the source of the recycled or bio materials is important for sustainability. For instance, a proportion (less than 20 per cent) of the Neste bio materials is sustainably produced palm oil.
To read more on SAF, see