American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) and Shell Aviation announced their joint venture with a pilot sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) program, Avelia, a blockchain-powered digital SAF platform for business travel. Shell Aviation will supply SAF into the aviation fuel network, whilst Avelia taps into Amex GBT’s global client base to aggregate global demand for SAF.
The platform enables travelers to invest in and benefit from SAF, even if it is not available at their departure airport. SAF will instead be fed into another aircraft in an airport where it is available, which Avelia hopes will “offer a solution that is inclusive and neutral with respect to airlines, technology production pathways, fuels and feedstocks.”
The pilot program operated on Avelia, was developed by Shell and Accenture, with the support of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF). Purchase commitments by pioneering corporations including Accenture, Amex GBT, Aon and Shell, are all supporting market development and driving investment to accelerate global supply. Aon is the first Amex GBT pilot customer to join the program. Airlines will be identified for co-investment opportunities and will benefit from access to SAF at more affordable prices because the cost is shared across the aviation value chain.
Jan Toschka, president of Shell Aviation, said: “SAF is the only viable option for reducing aviation emissions in the near-to medium-term. Lower or zero carbon technologies such as hydrogen and electric flight are decades away from having impact at scale, while SAF can be used immediately without the need for a fundamental change in infrastructure or aircraft design.”
Amex GBT CEO, Paul Abbott said: “This pilot is an important foundational step on our journey towards a net-zero world by 2050. As more businesses and organizations like Aon join this SAF pilot program, market signals will grow stronger, making SAF more cost-competitive with conventional jet fuel.”
James Platt, Aon’s COO, said: “We believe there is an opportunity to chart a better path for both our firm and society to become more resilient and sustainable. As we help our clients make better decisions as they navigate the volatility and risk in managing climate transition, we are also making bold moves to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. We are proud to be among the first to join this initiative in piloting a solution for SAF that will help Aon and others meet their emissions reduction targets and sustainability commitments.”
Avelia is first targeting business travel customers as “[this] travel community is highly influential and concentrated, compared to leisure travel. While representing a relatively smaller portion of aviation, business travel can play a large role in leading the transition towards net-zero aviation. Businesses and organizations joining this pilot will contribute to reducing emissions and driving wider adoption of SAF.”
Suzanne Neufang, CEO of the Global Business Travel Association, said: “Transformative sustainability initiatives and collaboration will help create a better future for our planet and for business travel. According to GBTA’s State of Sustainability Report published during Earth Month, 89% of business travel respondents say sustainability is a major priority for their company. The business travel community is simultaneously demanding and driving environmental progress, with pioneering pilots such as this at the forefront.”