In our last blog, we discussed how airlines’ Procurement and Accounts teams need to adapt their processes to handle Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which is priced differently to conventional jet fuel, and can be paid for differently. In this blog, we’re going to move on to look at the reporting requirements around SAF, so your airline can stay compliant and ensure you’re claiming the emissions reduction benefits of any SAF you buy.
Emissions reduction schemes – what’s required?
Two key emissions reduction schemes for aviation are the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Under both schemes, airlines can claim benefits if they can prove they’ve used SAF, but the evidence each scheme requires differs greatly.
EU ETS has much easier reporting requirements for SAF and offers much greater benefits. If an airline can prove that a flight operated with an accredited biofuel (ETS refers to SAF as a biofuel) then the whole flight is classed as carbon net zero, no matter what type of SAF was used and in what percentage blend. This then allows the airline to reduce their total CO2 emissions and purchase fewer carbon credits under the scheme, thereby saving them money.
In contrast, the SAF reporting requirements for CORSIA are much more onerous, and so the benefits are much harder to gain. CORSIA stipulates that to claim any reduction in CO2 emissions from a ‘CORSIA eligible fuel’ (CORSIA terminology for SAF), the airline must collect the RSB or ISCC accreditation certificate for each delivery of SAF and provide key details –such as the conversion process, feed stock, feed stock origin, life cycle emissions factor – in an additional supplement to the main CORSIA report. The airline can then claim a proportional reduction on their emissions in the main report and reduce their carbon offsets bill.
The complexity here is that the properties of a CORISA eligible fuel, such as the life cycle emissions factor, can be different for each batch, due to the different variables involved in SAF production and delivery. The CO2 reduction saved will also depend on the percentage of SAF that was blended with conventional jet fuel, which, as we mentioned in our last blog, currently isn’t known by the airline until they receive the supplier’s invoice.
To make the airline’s job even harder, the RSB/ISCC certificates are currently paper based rather than digital, so are often hard to obtain – particularly as the onus is on the supplier to gain the accreditation. This is especially true when the SAF has been bought through a mandate, rather than as a voluntary uplift (see our last blog for an explanation of the difference between the two).
In short, airlines are expected to collect a lot of data about each batch of SAF to gain any benefits under CORSIA.
ESG reporting – what’s required?
In addition to the reports required for emissions schemes, many airlines will also need to provide specific environmental, social and governance (ESG) reports to key stakeholders. These reports ensure transparency around an organization’s ESG activities and measure its performance on sustainability.
Reporting on SAF is a key part of these ESG reports and can be used to reduce the airline’s scope 1 emissions. For instance, an airline might be required to report:
- the total SAF consumed
- the total CO2 saved by the use of SAF
- the percentage of SAF used as a portion of fossil product
- the amount and percentage of SAF that was RSB or ISCC approved – and other measures.
To successfully claim benefits from SAF, airlines need to provide credible evidence – like that required by CORSIA – that the SAF purchased meets the right requirements. The ESG report is also usually audited by an approved body.
Many corporates now also need to report on their scope 3 emissions (such as employee travel) so they can offset accordingly. This means that airlines are increasingly asked by their corporate customers to provide evidence of the CO2 emissions attributable to their employees’ journeys.
So as with the emissions schemes, SAF reporting for ESG purposes places a significant administrative burden on airlines.
How can you reduce your reporting workload?
SAF is expensive so airlines understandably want to realize benefits from paying the higher costs. But the extra administration involved in SAF reporting – especially for CORSIA and ESG – can be taxing and costly if you’re going to rely on manual processes, which could result in the need to recruit more people and resources.
The alternative is to look for an automated solution – an upgraded fuel management system that can handle most of the data collection and report compilation for you. Imagine software embedded in your existing fuel management system that could:
- Capture all the information you need for all reporting requirements (ETS, CORSIA and ESG) about your purchased SAF, including details like the life cycle emissions factor, percentage blend, batch number, certificates and more
- Provide the data and KPIs to create the reports for you, at the click of a button
- Calculate accurate figures for CO2 per passenger (or cargo) based on actual fuel burn and payload, not simplified averages or a statistical model
- Provide an accredited certificate for CO2 emissions per passenger/cargo so that corporate customers can report on their scope 3 emissions and buy accurate offsets.
Upcoming webinar: Introducing, Seamless SAF Management
The good news is that Skymetrix has developed this solution already! We’ve just launched a SAF module for our leading fuel management platform, which makes it easy to track SAF right through the fuel management cycle from procure to pay, and report on it accurately. This means you can increase your use of SAF and claim the benefits of this, without adding to your workload or increasing your headcount.
You can find out more about this solution, and see an exclusive demo of it, at our upcoming webinar.