ICAO Council Approves Comprehensive Set of Sustainability Criteria for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

EDF Statement of Pedro Piris-Cabezas, Director, Sustainable International Transport and Lead Senior Economist

November 12, 2021
Sommer Yesenofski, syesenofski@edf.org
Jennifer Andreassen Burke, jandreassen@edf.org

(GLASGOW – Nov. 12, 2021) The governing Council of the UN’s aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, has adopted an expanded set of sustainability criteria for sustainable aviation fuel, the ICAO Secretariat announced today at COP26. The Council’s decision will help ensure that SAF used by airlines to meet their Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation obligations mitigates the ecosystem and community risks associated with SAF production, promotes the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and provides certainty for SAF producers as they make investments in the sustainability of their supply chains and operations.

“ICAO Council’s approval of the sustainability criteria is a major milestone. For the first time, a UN body has defined a clear and robust standard for what constitutes sustainability for a mitigation action and has operationalized it with a full-fledged monitoring, reporting and third-party verification system including a high level of assurance. The adoption of the full set of criteria makes CORSIA’s the most comprehensive SAF Framework adopted to date.

“The decision to adopt the full set of sustainability criteria sends a clear signal to countries embarking in SAF policy: support for SAF must include robust environmental safeguards. ICAO Council Members seized the opportunity to set forward-looking sustainability safeguards that will help put aviation on a flightpath to net-zero by 2050. Now, the same countries must take action to jump-start high-integrity SAF by shaping their national policies accordingly.”

  • Pedro Piris-Cabezas, Director of Sustainable International Transport and Lead Senior Economist, Environmental Defense Fund

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