Victor Co-CEO, Toby Edwards, takes part in FT Climate Capital Live panel

Victor was recently invited to sit alongside Boeing, Airbus, and Varo Energy to discuss the decarbonisation of the aviation sector

The 2023 Financial Times Climate Capital Live event is considered to be one of the top platforms for politicians, business leaders and financiers looking to evaluate the risks and opportunities they face in light of the climate crisis. This year, Victor was invited to sit alongside Boeing, Airbus, and Varo Energy for a panel discussion entitled, “SAF vs. Hydrogen vs. Electrification: How Can We Most Quickly Decarbonise Aviation?” 

The aviation industry, which wields a significant influence on the global economy, often finds itself at the forefront of widespread criticism over its considerable carbon footprint. In particular, the industry’s decarbonisation strategy is viewed as a daunting challenge, rendering it among the “hard to abate sectors.” However, we believe that through awareness, education, and action the industry can change its perception and make genuine progress towards a more sustainable future. 

For several years now, Victor has been one of the market leaders when it comes to innovation and the championing of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, with a noteworthy one in five of our clients choosing SAF when booking. While research and development around hydrogen fuels and electricity are critical to meeting future targets, the overarching conclusion to the entire panel was that SAF is, without doubt, the most immediate and efficient way to make aviation more sustainable today. 

As it currently stands, there are a number of overwhelming obstacles preventing the widespread use of hydrogen fuel in aviation. The cost of hydrogen has risen dramatically over the past couple of years and there would need to be a massive change to the current infrastructure in order to make hydrogen use feasible. 

Meanwhile, small electric aircraft do exist, however, the process of making these aircraft safety certified and used in their hundreds amongst metropolitan cities all around the world isn’t a feasible reality – at least for this decade.  

This leaves us with Sustainable Aviation Fuel – which is made from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials such as cooking oils. This solution reduces greenhouse emissions by up to 80%, (the production process and transportation prevent this from being 100%). Since our partnership with Neste, the world’s leading SAF producer, last June, one in five of our customers have voluntarily purchased SAF.  

When questioned by Peggy Hollinger, International Business Editor at the Financial Times, Edwards explained;

“Sustainable Aviation Fuel helps to keep fossil fuels under the ground, the problem is that it requires more attention to be understood and it is not widely available to flyers yet. The World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow report confirms that there is at least 40 million tons of renewable waste available to the industry per annum. This is more than enough renewable waste and residue raw materials to supply the expected 12 million tons of SAF required by 2030. “

The bottom line is that SAF is not sexy, and doesn’t quite have the same headline appeal as hydrogen and electric solutions. But when the main issues preventing it from becoming more widespread are a lack of education and initiative, one can’t help but consider whether some of the scrutiny being directed towards the industry isn’t at least partially deserved. While the challenges that lay ahead will be difficult to overcome, the riveting panel discussion proved that there is far more reason to be optimistic rather than cynical. 

If you would like to learn more about our sustainability initiatives, feel free to get in touch