For sustainable alternative fuels to make an impact on CO2 emissions from aviation, airlines are working together and with other sustainability-focused organisations to ensure that not only can these fuels be adopted on a large scale, but also that they are sustainably produced.

As a means of getting this balance right, a group of airlines from all over the world, with support and advice from environmental organisations, joined together in 2008 to found the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG). Together, the members make up 33% of global commercial aviation fuel demand.

Each of the members of SAFAG signed a sustainability pledge, which is designed to ensure development of alternative fuels that enable aviation to meet its CO2-emissions reduction commitments and can also be incorporated into the global aviation system.

To meet those goals, SAFUG members agree that the fuels must meet key sustainability criteria: exhibit minimal impact on biodiversity; meet a sustainability standard with respect to land, water, and energy use; do not harm food security and provide a positive socioeconomic impact. Fuels that meet these criteria include those which come from a wide range of feedstocks, such as algae, used cooking oil and municipal waste. At the same time, SAFUG is focused on biofuel types that also do not require any changes to aircraft, engines or the airport fuelling infrastructure.

SAFUG members are committed to working in partnership with governments, other industries and representatives of civil society on this issue, and hope to have other members of the aviation industry join them to further develop the use of sustainable alternative fuels and lessen aviation’s climate impact.