Southwest Airlines announces new sustainability tool

posted on 14th August 2023 by Eddie Saunders
Southwest Airlines announces new sustainability tool

Southwest Airlines has announced the launch of a new, innovative option for eligible corporate Customers looking to support sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

SAF is fuel produced from non-fossil fuel sources that can result in lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional jet fuel.

Today, SAF is produced in limited volumes and comes at a significant price premium over conventional jet fuel, making it difficult for airlines to incorporate in substantial volumes into their operations.

Southwest first announced the SAF Beta Program in October 2021, allowing eligible corporate Customers to support the scaling of the still emerging SAF industry by purchasing the Customer Scope 3 SAF claims (referred below as Customer SAF Claims) associated with the utilization of SAF in Southwest’s operations.

Eligible corporate Customers can now purchase Customer SAF Claims and/or carbon offsets directly within Southwest Business AssistTM from CHOOOSE.

This new option greatly increases the number of Customers who will now be eligible to make Customer SAF Claims purchases through Southwest.

Customer SAF Claims are the Scope 3 Category 6 (Business Travel) rights associated with Southwest’s utilization of SAF in its operations.

The sustainability claim or attribute purchased is separated from the physical flow of the fuel.

In part, this is because when blended with conventional jet fuel in accordance with industry standards, SAF is a certified drop-in fuel and is delivered within existing fueling infrastructure.

While this helps save on capital investment required for infrastructure and enables airlines to receive deliveries of SAF in the most economically efficient locations, this also makes it difficult to trace the actual SAF molecules to a particular flight.

Instead, SAF and the associated environmental attributes are tracked based off how much neat SAF was purchased and delivered to an airline operator, and corporate Customers can purchase Customer SAF Claims associated with the SAF even if they are in a different place than where the SAF is utilized by Southwest.

There is still work to be done for the industry to establish the processes and mechanisms needed for a robust, credible, and transparent SAF Claims market at scale.

Southwest is participating in these efforts and is proud to offer opportunities for direct transactions with eligible corporate Customers to support Southwest’s use of SAF.

The platform allows for the purchase of carbon offsets alongside or independent of Customer SAF Claims, from a selected portfolio of projects including the Delta Blue Carbon mangrove restoration project.

Southwest recognizes the impact that credible projects play in avoiding, reducing, or removing carbon as in-sector technologies develop and is excited that the tool allows for customizable self-service purchases based on corporate Customers’ individual priorities, budgets, and strategy.

“We are hearing from more and more corporate Customers that SAF is an important part of their decarbonization plans for business travel,” said Helen Giles, Managing Director Environmental Sustainability at Southwest Airlines.

“We are excited to evolve our offerings to help meet this demand and allow more corporate Customers to participate

“Our valued corporate Customers have supported Southwest’s use of SAF in our operations, and we continue to recognize the importance of bringing them along in our environmental sustainability journey.”