Over the past year, American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) has launched several initiatives aimed at decarbonizing air travel. Today, we are excited to celebrate another milestone in this journey: We have officially joined United Airlines Ventures (UAV) Sustainable Flight Fund, a program designed to increase the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
SAF, an alternative jet fuel produced from waste plant or animal material, is recognized as the most promising solution to accelerate the aviation sector’s transition to a low-carbon future. With the potential to reduce lifecycle emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel, it has become the industry’s primary pathway for reaching its net-zero emissions target by 2050.
The UAV Sustainable Flight Fund – a way for companies and consumers to come together and increase the supply of SAF through the support of startups – has increased its investment power to nearly $200 million and added eight new corporate partners five months after its initial launch.
Through the fund, Amex GBT is investing alongside United in SAF technology and production startups identified by United. We are the first and only travel management company thus far contributing to the fund.
“The business travel sector has a critical role to play in scaling SAF and accelerating the decarbonization of travel,” said Paul Abbott, chief executive officer of Amex GBT. “By investing in the United Ventures fund, we are helping to bring the industry together to drive the innovation and investment required to create a more sustainable future for travel.”
In tandem with our bold commitments
With a global footprint and relationships with nearly 20,000 clients, Amex GBT has great potential – and an even greater responsibility – to drive change in the industry and across the world. With that objective in mind, we developed a series of “bold commitments” – meaningful actions tied to our purpose of powering progress through travel and our environmental, social, and governance priorities. Joining United’s SAF program is one of a series of strategic steps we are taking toward our larger aspiration of “leading the industry toward sustainable aviation.”
In 2022, along with Shell Aviation, we launched a landmark SAF program designed to increase the supply of and demand for the renewable sustainable jet fuel. Companies participating in the program have access to Avelia, one of the world’s first blockchain-powered digital SAF book-and-claim solutions for business travel.
Last year, we signed the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow ambition statement, pledging to help the aviation sector achieve 10% SAF usage by 2030. Other sustainable air initiatives we’re involved in include the SAF Grand Challenge and the UK Jet Zero Council.
“Amex GBT is actively working to decarbonize travel in the near-term with science-based targets, a comprehensive suite of sustainability products and services for our customers, and working to scale SAF via Avelia,” said Evan Konwiser, chief marketing and strategy officer. “Our investment in United Airlines Ventures will support technology development to accelerate sustainable fuel production, the best currently available path to decarbonization. United Airlines Ventures is a first-of-its-kind proposition, which is why Amex GBT committed at the forefront, and we hope to see fast followers emerge.”
For us, helping clients reach their net-zero travel program targets and the places they need to be isn’t an either/or situation. We can take meaningful actions to protect the planet while enabling our clients to show up for the moments that matter most.