PwC Netherlands is the first major Dutch organization to switch completely to sustainable aviation fuel. With this step, PwC not only wants to reduce its own CO2 footprint, but also contribute to the further development of sustainable aviation.
While electric cars and charging stations have become a familiar part of the Dutch landscape, electric flying on a large scale is still a long way off. Aviation is responsible for 3% of global CO2 emissions, so until technology has advanced to the point where the sector can operate electrically, other solutions are more than welcome.
One of those solutions is sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. This alternative to fossil fuel is made from renewable raw materials (such as used cooking oil) and can reduce emissions by up to 85%.
PwC Netherlands now allows its employees to fly on SAF. The accountancy and consultancy firm has concluded a five-year contract with SkyNRG for the purchase of the biokerosene. The deal is part of PwC’s efforts to become fully circular by 2030.
With the deal, PwC will become the first Dutch consultancy (and even the first major company) to take this step. Some foreign consultancy firms have already (partly) switched to SAF.
Renate de Lange, member of the board of directors at PwC and responsible for the company’s sustainability efforts, says that PwC has already made efforts in recent years to limit its travel movements – something that has received a significant boost in the corona crisis. . For example, CO2 emissions from flying fell by more than 95% in the last financial year (2020/2021) compared to the level before corona.
“But in order to do our job well, we sometimes have to travel and fly,” says De Lange. “That is why PwC is constantly looking for ways to achieve its net zero ambition. For example, by introducing an internal CO2 pricing system, by compensating for CO2, and now by committing ourselves to fully switch to SAF for air travel from 2022.”
One liter of SAF for every liter of kerosene
This does not mean that all PwC employees now only board aircraft that take off with SAF. This would be practically unfeasible, because of course you always share your flight with many other travelers who (usually) have not committed to the sustainable fuel.
Instead, PwC purchases enough SAF for its own use. Compare it with a contract for green electricity, in which you also purchase sufficient sustainable energy for your own household. So for every liter of kerosene that PwC uses on its flights, it pays one liter of SAF. The supplier delivers the amount of SAF to an airport and receives a certificate, so that all aircraft that refuel there fly a bit more sustainably.
“If an employee or customer is aware of the CO2 impact, we notice that they are less inclined to travel. And when we do fly, we do so on a 100% SAF basis.”
To track flight movements (and emissions from commuting and other business trips), PwC uses its own Environmental Footprint Insights (EFI) app. “This way we know exactly how much sustainable fuel we have to buy,” according to the office.
The app should also encourage conscious travel behaviour. “If an employee or customer is aware of the CO2 impact, we notice that they are less inclined to travel.” For relatively short journeys – for example to Frankfurt and Berlin – the train will be taken in any case. “And when we do fly, we do so on a 100% SAF basis.”
Compared to the use of fossil fuels, PwC expects to achieve a CO2 reduction of up to 85% with the switch to SAF, but because the company also reports on the non-CO2 effects of flying, the effective reduction is expected to be lower. 40 to 45%.
Of course it would be nice if all aircraft were refueled with SAF, but there are simply not enough streams of renewable raw materials available to meet global demand. “That is why we are closely following the development of other SAFs, such as sustainable synthetic kerosene,” says PwC.
The office not only follows the developments, but also wants to contribute to them. For example, it is part of the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition, along with other companies, airlines and airports.
The group aims to ensure that by 2030 at least 10% of the global aviation fuel supply is sustainable, with PwC specifically contributing to the development of a system of SAF certificates in aviation and a way to measure and report the CO2 impact.
PwC is also one of 31 Dutch companies that have united in the Anders Reizen coalition, in which the members are committed to making their business mobility more sustainable. Within the coalition, PwC chairs the Anders Vliegen working group.
And in the meantime, the office continues to look further ahead, to a future in which electric flying will hopefully become commercially feasible.
For example, in 2018 it already donated an electric aircraft to the Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) and recently made a financial donation to NLR for the purchase of an electric aircraft, and to the Stichting Duurzaam Vliegen and the Dutch Association of Airports. to stimulate the development of charging points for aircraft.