British Airways joins industry leaders in initiative to accelerate development of advanced biofuels in Europe
Fri 8 Feb 2013 – British Airways has joined a European industry project to speed up the deployment of advanced sustainable biofuels in Europe. The ‘Leaders of Sustainable Biofuels’ initiative was launched in Brussels this week and BA will join with biofuel technology companies Chemtex, BTG Biomass Technology, Chemrec, Clariant, DONG Energy and UPM to support and ensure the market uptake of advanced sustainable fuels in all EU transport sectors. With the EU requiring 10 per cent of all fuels to come from alternative sources by 2020, the group believes second-generation biofuels are a key part of the solution and can reduce GHG emissions by at least 65 per cent. First generation fuels, made from corn, wheat, soy or palm provide by contrast only modest reductions in GHGs and can push up food prices, they say.
The Brussels meeting established a strategy to accelerate market penetration and technology deployment, focusing on four key areas: • Accelerate research and innovation into emerging biofuel technologies, including algae and new conversion pathways, supported by public and private research, development and deployment programmes; • Work together with the supply chain to further develop worldwide-accepted sustainability certification; • Establish financing structures to facilitate the implementation of sustainable biofuel projects; and • Publicly promote the benefits of advanced sustainable biofuels.
The group says it plans to address national policy makers, the European Commission and the European Parliament “with a single voice” and will invite others in the sustainable biofuels industry to join with them.
The group of CEOs signed a manifesto of aims, among them Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways.
“We think it is important to support the development of second generation, sustainable biofuels as they have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of the aviation sector,” said Jonathon Counsell, the airline’s Head of Environment. “We are paving the way with our ‘first of a kind’ project in conjunction with Solena Fuels to produce sustainable aviation fuel, in commercial quantities, from waste.”
In other British Airways news, the airline has been recognised by the Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Project for its leadership role in the travel and leisure sector in addressing its impact on deforestation. Part of the Global Canopy Programme, the project encourages the world’s largest companies to disclose their impact on forests based on their use of five commodities: soy, palm oil, timber and pulp, cattle products, and first generation biofuels. BA says it sources “catering products and materials with a clear view of the provenance of the items and selection is based on minimising any damage to the environment.”
Commending the airline, James Hulse, Director of FFD, said: “With commodity and food inflation growing in significance, building traceability and security of supply are big issues for the travel and leisure sector.”
The airline has also received the Business Travel Award2013 for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Programme in respect of its One Destination programme. Last year it rolled out its Carbon Fund to replace its passenger carbon offset scheme and uses donations from customers to fund renewable energy projects in UK communities. BA reports that its Flying Start partnership with the Comic Relief charity has raised over £4 million ($6.3m) to help children living in poverty at home and abroad.