Southwest partners with 4AIR to document SAF usage and emissions

Climate accounting is big business, as are emissions trading and carbon credits. Since the beginning of carbon trading, one of the major issues has been to ensure that CO2 is correctly calculated. The same difficulty arises with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), especially as more and more companies are paying airlines a lot of extra money to reduce their scope 3 emissions from business travel. .


Not all SAFs are created equal, after all. Various feedstocks will provide variable lifetime CO2 reduction compared to the Jet A. Enter specialist rating agencies that seek to ensure the accuracy of aviation-specific carbon transactions, such as 4AIR, with whom Southwest Airlines comes to partner up to ensure that its corporate clients get the right emissions reduction they negotiated.

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Ensure transparency

4AIR supports private and business aviation by helping to source sustainable aviation fuel, providing access to carbon markets, and offering tools to calculate emissions reductions, among other strategies. But it also operates the first and only rating system focused on overall sustainability in aviation. This is the company’s first major public agreement with a major commercial carrier. 4AIR President Kennedy Ricci said:

“This industry-leading partnership with Southwest Airlines ensures transparency of its SAF emissions accounting for corporate customers. This step underscores Southwest’s commitment to SAF and the importance of moving the industry towards carbon neutrality by 2050.”

The world’s largest low-cost carrier, Southwest, has indeed pledged to achieve net zero by 2050. At the same time, it also has an interim target of reducing carbon intensity by 20% from baseline levels. 2019 by 2030 and maintain carbon neutral growth, again based on 2019 figures, for the remainder of the current decade.

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Reduction rights will help scale SAFs in operations

Meanwhile, Helen Giles, director of environmental sustainability for Southwest Airlines, commented on the new partnership with 4AIR,

“We are excited to partner with 4AIR to offer enterprise customers participating in our SAF beta program independently verified assurance for Scope 3 emissions reduction rights associated with their support of expanding SAF into our operations. We have processes in place to track the emission reduction rights of our partner companies in the program, and we are proud to add this extra layer to verify that the emission reduction rights purchased have been correctly accounted for.

Southwest is indeed one of the largest investors in sustainable aviation fuel, spread across several different feedstocks and technologies. The airline has signed off-take agreements with Velocys and Neste, as well as memorandums of understanding with Marathon Petroleum Corporation and Phillips 66. Additionally, in June this year, the airline announced an investment in SAFFiRE Renewables, a pilot project funded by the Department of Energy looking to use corn stalks for renewable ethanol that can then be turned into SAF. Meanwhile, 4AIR has also just signed an agreement with GE Honda Aero Engines, as well as private aviation charter company Verijet.

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