Alaska Airline claims to be one of the most fuel-efficient airlines in the US | Credit: Alaska
Microsoft plans to curb the emissions generated by employees flying from California to Washington by purchasing sustainable aviation fuel credits from fuel company SkyNRG
Microsoft has announced a new partnership with Alaska Airlines that will see the tech giant reduce the environmental impact of its business travel by procuring sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to cover its employees’ flights.
Under the arrangement announced late last week, Microsoft will buy credits for jet fuel made from waste oil by Dutch company SkyNRG, who will in turn supply the low emission fuel to Alaska Airlines.
Microsoft’s credits will buy enough fuel to cover employee travel between Seattle, the closest airport to the tech giant’s Richmond, Washington headquarters – and various cities in California, it said, explaining these are the most popular Alaska Airline routes travelled by staff.
Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s worldwide commercial business, said the company hoped the model would be replicated by other companies and organisations looking to reduce the environmental impact of their business air travel.
And Brad Tilden, chief executive of Alaska Airlines hailed the partnership as a means of helping to ramp up deployment of fossil fuel alternatives for flights after years of research and development.
“After a decade advancing sustainable aviation fuel, this partnership marks a significant milestone in the work to make SAF a commercially-viable aviation fuel alternative,” Tilden said. “SAF enables us to fly cleaner and reduce our impact on the environment.”
The SAF to be supplied by SkyNRG under the agreement will be produced using waste oils in the US and is expected to deliver emissions reductions of approximately 75 per cent compared with fossil jet fuel, the partners said.
SkyNRG, Microsoft, and Alaska Airlines have agreed to hold supplier and corporate forums where they will share findings from the three-way partnership.
They also said they support a global environmental accounting standard for voluntary corporate SAF purchases, and will participate in the development of the standard by participating in a pilot project run by the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow (CST) initiative.
The partnership came in the same week that the CST – which comprises players across the aviation value chain, including Heathrow, Boeing, Shell, and Lufthansa – published a joint proposal that called on policymakers to consider the introduction of a SAF blending mandate in Europe in 2025, in addition to a number of measures to ramp up supply of the fuels.
The new tie-up will allow Microsoft to deliver some of the drastic emissions reductions required to reach its goal of becoming a carbon negative business by the end of the decade and to achieve mission of actively sucking more carbon from the air than it has emitted since its founding by mid-century.