In recent months, aviation sustainability has been in the news like never before. Spurred by activists like Greta Thunberg, many travelers have begun to more seriously consider the climate impacts of their jetsetting ways. In Thunberg’s native Sweden, the public has even coined the term “flygskam,” or “flight shame” in English.
ClimateWorks is no stranger to flygskam. As a global organization with programs across the world, the largest contributor to our organizational carbon footprint is by far our airborne business travel. Considering that our mission is to solve the global climate crisis, we are keenly aware of the impact of our own activities and are focused on the role that philanthropy can play in accelerating the decarbonization of the aviation sector.
This is why we are excited to announce that ClimateWorks is a launching NGO partner for SkyNRG’s new Board Now program, which will allow us to support the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) that can potentially play an important role in reducing the climate impact of the aviation industry.
Board Now has secured voluntary commitments from two companies to fly on SAFs by absorbing part of the cost premium of these fuels, with plans to expand to 10+ companies soon. By aggregating these commitments and securing fuel offtake agreements with airlines to demonstrate demand for SAFs, SkyNRG is on its way to securing financing to build a new production facility for these SAFs in the Netherlands, with production starting in 2022. By making SAFs more widely available and utilized, ClimateWorks and SkyNRG are seeking to accelerate emissions reductions in an industry that is projected to increase its greenhouse gas emissions three-fold by 2050.
While ClimateWorks strives to only fly when necessary, the reality is that long-distance travel remains a necessity in order to maximize the effectiveness of our organization. ClimateWorks leads the world’s only philanthropic strategy to address the climate impacts of aviation and our support for Board Now expands this commitment. SAFs are one of the few near-term ways to reduce emissions from air travel and efforts to accelerate the availability and cost competitiveness of these fuels are urgently needed.
As the world works to confront the rapidly intensifying climate crisis, the projected expansion of the aviation industry in the near future may well negate some of the positive impacts of decarbonization in other industries, unless concerted action is taken. Governments and airlines both have major roles to play in bringing about the transformative changes that are required, but philanthropy and other interested parties cannot simply sit on the sidelines and hope for the best. By joining Board Now, ClimateWorks is making sure that it is proactively addressing its own climate impacts and is helping to make the aviation industry part of the climate solution, not a major part of the problem.