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Aviation sector and NGOs agree on sustainability of future fuels


Given that EU leaders have committed to achieving a net-zero-carbon economy by 2050, there is a growing focus on how to accelerate the transition towards climate-neutral aviation.

As the European Union is about to unveil new targets for sustainable aviation fuel in 2021, a group of major European aviation companies –  including KLM, Easyjet, Air France, International Airlines Group – as well as research organisations and environmental groups are calling for a more stringent policy approach to sustainability and the sector’s climate impact.

In a statement, the group provides recommendations on the sustainability aspects of the EU’s policy design to support Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). 

Steve Halama Kqccki9oi1y Unsplash

Parties endorsing the Fuelling Flight Initiative share the vision that ramping up SAF in Europe can only be done once and therefore must be done in the right manner. One of the key elements is a regulatory framework that guarantees future-proof sustainability requirements. This cornerstone is needed to build-up production capacity and organise feedstock value chains while avoiding investments that either fail to deliver emission reductions or cause unintended environmental impacts.

The Fuelling Flight initiative was convened by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) and ClimateWorks Foundation (CWF) to provide recommendations on the sustainability aspects of the EU’s policy design to support Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). Technical advice was provided by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

“Europe must ensure that future policies only promote the most sustainable fuels for reducing the climate impact of aviation, and the EU needs to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The current Renewable Energy Directive does not ensure that fuels used in Europe meet the sustainability standards desired by civil society nor of leading airlines. In the Fueling Flight initiative, aviation companies, research organisations and environmental groups have now reached agreement on this important topic, and we propose shared guidelines on how to minimise environmental impacts. Policymakers should take this into consideration when defining a policy framework that is fair, affordable and meets the highest sustainability standards without compromise.”
Pete Harrison, Executive Director for EU Policy at the European Climate Foundation
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