Forest with waterways

Victor VP Davide Paladino on the importance of transparency in climate action

Written by Davide Paladino, Vice President of Sales

Not much time has passed since I wrote my last blog about the power of communication in building trust. Readers familiar with our services will know that transparency continues to be Victor’s most important key attribute, as we champion and promise the access to a free, uninhibited flow of information that is open to our members’ scrutiny.  

Transparent Climate Action 

Trust is earned through open and honest communication. Victor continues to push boundaries in its endeavours to offer a better way to fly; taking a stance with bold environmental actions that have immediate positive outcomes and that can help break stigma by being truthful about the impact our industry has on the environment and future generations. 

Aviation, one of the hard-to-abate sectors, accounts for 2.1% of human-induced CO2 emissions annually, with Private Aviation being responsible for 2% of that (equating to private jets contributing 0.04% of total global emissions). Despite this relatively small percentage, the wider Aviation sector as a whole is growing year on year, with carbon-reducing technologies like eVTOL and hydrogen being still many years before commercialisation. Therefore reducing that impact is critical as the world aims to achieve net zero targets by 2050. Individuals and corporate organisations have a climate responsibility and are therefore required to adapt their lifestyle choices and business travel approaches. However, we do not believe that the solution to becoming environmentally sustainable is by simply flying less or not flying at all. Instead of jeopardizing the positive impact aviation has on businesses and our connectivity around the world, immediate low-emission solutions need to be adopted instantly. We urge our members to recognise that flying private is a privilege, and with that comes an important responsibility to the planet.  

The UNDP’s “Peoples’ Climate Vote” suggests that people want to know how to play their part in tackling climate change and environmental damage. While governments need to play a stronger role in shaping the environment in which the public acts, Victor continues to take a leading role as a pioneer within the industry, acknowledging the part we and our customers play in carbon emission but advocating for a better way to fly.  

The Aviation industry’s ‘chicken-and-egg’ challenge 

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) offers the fastest, most viable in-sector decarbonisation approach. The World Economic Forum (WEF) went further and suggested that in the future, SAF will be used on all conventional flights by default and as the overall decarbonization solution of the industry (contributing at least 65% of the carbon emission reduction target).  

The problem of wider adoption is two-fold: its widespread purchase is hindered by a “chicken-and-egg” challenge – SAF producers and consumers are either unable or unwilling to shoulder the initial costs of scaling production.  

While the current SAF price is two to three times the cost of conventional jet fuel, today’s commercial production of SAF is only approximately 0.05% of total EU jet fuel consumption – and the current pace of growth is nowhere near what it should be to meet global climate objectives and the recently proposed European Commission mandate. We are in no denial that the fuel produced from sustainable resources requires economy of scale to reach wider adoption, whereas accessibility at a larger number of airports and further price adjustment will accelerate the process positively. As advocates for a greener future, we take further responsibility in educating our customers about SAF, reinforcing that it is currently the only solution to provide a credible, in-sector carbon emission reduction available right now. Our pioneering partnership with Neste, offering SAF for all Victor bookings worldwide, is an additional step we have taken and is a testament to how action-driven we are to achieving sustainability within our industry.   

Victor’s credible, measurable solution with Neste 

We are proud to be able to offer our customers a solution providing an immediate impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions with Neste MY SAF™. Our industry-leading ‘pay here, use there’ model allows Victor customers to purchase SAF for every booking worldwide, reducing their carbon emissions by up to 80% depending on how much SAF they buy. What is unique about our model is that we are enabling our customers to effectively purchase the SAF straight from Neste, the supplier. The partnership model provides a fully transparent process by which the SAF volume purchased (and its corresponding carbon emission reduction) is validated and attributed back to the individual customer.  

Alternative  SAF solutions have been  quick to emerge and adopted by others within the industry. However, coming back to the importance of transparency, it’s crucial that customers know where the SAF is coming from and how it’s being produced. Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificate (SAFc) systems serve as an accounting tool that allows carbon emission reductions to be claimed by the traveller if they cover the higher cost of the fuel. However many schemes do not provide a clear chain of custody and an immediate carbon emission reduction – so it’s important that customers hold suppliers (aviation businesses) to account and ask questions such as ‘where is the SAF I’m paying for coming from, when will it be used/burned and when will the carbon emission reduction be realised?’ Schemes that allow customers to pay extra for sustainable aviation fuel certificates will certainly boost demand for SAF, and unlock additional funding sources to stimulate demand in this nascent industry. However, people need to question the credibility of the SAF solution they are purchasing to ensure that their important contributions to the planet are resulting in the immediate, measurable impact they are hoping to achieve. 

Beyond Transparency 

No matter how difficult to navigate, these challenges remain within our industry and the race is on to act fast and decarbonise now.  

Meanwhile, the aviation industry knows that actions are required, although competitors have been slower to accelerate their effort and are only adapting now by offering carbon offset solutions. Victor, however, has already gone further and recognised that offsetting alone is not enough to reach Net Zero by 2050. While our environmental impact continues to lead the industry, we remain committed to breaking barriers through innovation, practicing transparency at a scale never seen before. Giving the full picture to our members and customers becomes imperative. Disclosing aircraft specific information, such as the actual operator, our clients’ overall experience with them as well as the exact tail details (including interior and exterior pictures), helps them to make an informed decision. Showcasing each plane’s estimated fuel burn while also highlighting the most environmentally friendly aircraft in our proposal aim to stimulate the environmentally-conscious minds of our members.   

As we cement our position further as the most credible advocate for an environmentally conscious way to fly, we are proud of our achievements through our exclusive partnership with Neste. It allows us to transfer science-based knowledge directly to our members and help create early adopters. The hard work doesn’t stop here. In fact, we must hold ourselves accountable as pioneers within the industry and recognise that our SAF offering. enables behavioural changes .

UHNWI and popular figures, such as politicians, celebrities, or business leaders will take personal interest in preserving their high profile in the eye of the public. Being early adopters gives them the opportunity to become advocates and have direct influence within their social environment and the industries they work for. Leading by example empowers them to drive positive change directly and makes them facilitators for a much wider adoption and increased demand. Those key figures are needed more than ever as the majority of private jet charterers may well have the motivation and the ability to make a change in their lifestyle and habits, but that alone is not enough. Triggers are required which can be perceptual or intrinsic, although the key aspect for such significant adjustments is timing. Facilitators will help motivate people to move along and make the change easier as they credibly justify their choices for a more sustainable way to fly.  

We have recently celebrated our 150th private jet charter booking with Sustainable Aviation Fuel since launching our partnership with Neste in June 2022. With 1 in 5 customers are opting to travel more sustainably, proving that a significant cohort of customers are ready to voluntarily pay more for SAF to lower their carbon emissions.While we recognise that not everyone can afford to buy 100% SAF, our customers are given the choice at check-out with a slider, allowing them to choose how much fossil fuel they wish to replace with SAF, between 5-100%. We of course encourage our members to purchase as much SAF as they can afford, in order to enable the maximum CO2e reduction of up to 80%. On average our customers are choosing 33% and our aim is to continue to encourage greater and more frequent contributions. 

Our commitment towards a greener environment is an integral part of our long-term business strategy. We are passionate about transparency and sustainability, which are core values we live and breathe – which for a long time have been embedded in our brand DNA. The successful implementation of innovative products is a testament to our dedication, unlocking further motivation to create added value for the greater good.