Shell, Accenture and American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) announced today the launch of Avelia, a new solution aimed at addressing the emissions impact of business travel by enabling businesses to participate in the purchase and scaling up of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Aviation has come under scrutiny as a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 2-3% of global emissions, and often constitutes a significant portion of many businesses’ scope 3 emissions, or those beyond the companies’ direct control.

Sustainable aviation fuel is seen as one of the key tools to help decarbonize the aviation industry. SAF is generally produced from sustainable resources, like waste oils and agricultural residues. SAF producers estimate the fuels can generate up to 80% greenhouse gas emissions saving relative to conventional fuels. The supply of SAF is still severely limited, however, with significant investments required to scale up production, and SAF is currently between 2 – 8x more expensive than traditional jet fuel.

Jan Toschka, President, Shell Aviation said:

“SAF is a key enabler of decarbonisation in the aviation industry, and it’s available today. However, it’s currently scarce and costs more than conventional jet fuel. Avelia will help trigger demand for SAF at scale, providing confidence to suppliers like us to further increase investment in production, and in turn helping to lower the price point for these fuels.”

Avelia utilizes a blockchain-powered book-and-claim model, enabling business travellers to pay for SAF and claim the environmental benefits, even if the SAF is not available at their departure airport. The solution was developed by Shell and Accenture, with the support of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), and includes Amex GBT’s travel management services to aggregate global demand for SAF from its 19,000 global customers.

Paul Abbott, CEO, Amex GBT said:

“A truly viable route to decarbonising air travel is now open for business. We’re calling on all companies to join us and share the costs and benefits of SAF across the travel and aviation sectors. Airlines will gain access to the buying capacity of businesses, drawing from Amex GBT’s 19,000 customers around the world.”

At launch, Avelia will offer approximately 1 million gallons of SAF, equivalent to powering nearly 15,000 individual business traveller flights from London-to-New York. Shell, Accenture, and Amex GBT are the platform’s first customers, with Shell committing to purchase the environmental attributes equivalent to 100,000 gallons of SAF in the program’s pilot phase.

Rachel Barton, Europe Strategy Lead, Accenture, said:

“We believe every business should be a sustainable business and that sustainability will serve as one of the most powerful forces for change. Our vision for the Avelia platform is to bring together airlines, corporates, cargo players, and SAF suppliers in a trusted ecosystem that no individual company could build or access on its own.”