Logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL Group announced today a new agreement with renewable fuel provider Neste for the purchase of more than €60 million of sustainable aviation fuel by mid-2022. Under the terms of the agreement, Neste will supply DHL’s Express division with SAF at its UK East Midlands Airport hub.

According to DHL, the agreement will enable the company to reduce around 70,000 tons of CO2 emissions and will allow DHL to transport 1,500 tons of air freight weekly in a more sustainable way from the UK on around 165 European and 35 intercontinental flights.

John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express, said:

“We need to reduce carbon emissions by using imaginative solutions available today. This deal with Neste furthers our efforts to make our services green and sustainable for our customers. With the investment in our East Midlands Hub, we use SAF for around 200 network flights a week departing from the UK.”

The aviation industry has come under scrutiny as a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, with that figure potentially rising dramatically over the coming decades if no action is taken. Several initiatives are being pursued in order to address the climate impact of the industry, typically involving efforts to improve aircraft efficiency, develop sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), or create aircraft utilizing low or zero carbon propulsion systems such as electric or hydrogen-based.

SAF is generally produced from sustainable resources, like waste oils and agricultural residues, or even from carbon captured from the air, rather than from fossil fuels. Neste produces SAF utilizing Used Cooking Oil (UCO) while avoiding palm oil.

Thorsten Lange, Executive Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation at Neste, said:

“We are excited to provide Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the UK to Deutsche Post DHL Group, a leader in driving the sustainability agenda. It provides an immediate solution to start decarbonizing aviation operations. The cooperation with Deutsche Post DHL Group is a great example of how we are working together with major partners across the fuel supply chain to scale up the use and availability of sustainable aviation fuel. We look forward to supporting DHL in further reducing net emission with additional supply of SAF in the UK, and to the British government progressing regulatory policy proposals to encourage increased use of SAF.”

The announcement aligns with DHL’s Sustainability Roadmap, launched earlier this year, which include a series of decarbonization and environmental sustainability commitments by the company, including the introduction of more ambitious climate targets and linking executive compensation to ESG goals. DHL’s targets include a goal to have at least 30% of fuel requirements in aviation and line haul to be covered by sustainable fuels for long haul flights.

Melanie Kreis, CFO Deutsche Post DHL Group and Steering Committee Member of the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition, said:

“As the world’s leading logistics provider, it is our responsibility to play an active part in leading our industry towards a sustainable future. In line with our company’s “Mission 2050: Zero Emissions” and our commitment to the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” campaign, we have pledged to invest approximately EUR 7 billion by 2030 in clean operations, within the framework of our Sustainability Roadmap.”