Business aviation and sustainability

Sustainability and good sustainable practices are the norm for many organisations and activities in Europe towards a lower carbon future. Business aviation is no exception to this notion and if our sector is to have a continued license to grow it will be dependent on its ability to do so sustainably and responsibly.

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The Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change (BACCC) was published in 2009 by the International Business Aviation Council and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. The publication of the Commitment is supported by the entire industry.

As the foundation for Business aviation to reduce its environmental impact, It sets three aspirational goals and a pathway through four mechanisms towards achieving these goals through various milestones out to 2050.

For Business aviation to be successful in reducing its impact on climate change and achieve the goals within the BACCC,  it is important to view all the mechanisms combined as a basket of measures.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a viable and certified alternative to fossil fuel and is a key element as described in the BACCC towards reducing emissions from its operations.

In a move to increase the uptake by the Business aviation sector, the Business Aviation Sustainable Aviation Fuel Coalition was formed. The objective and intention of the SAF Coalition is to bridge the knowledge gap on SAF to all stakeholders across the Business aviation value chain as well as policymakers.

To assist this, the coalition has arranged demonstration events in both the US and UK and held technical briefings at major events. The Coalition also supported the World Economic Forum and its Davos meeting in 2020 by securing a supply of SAF for business aviation operators using Zurich Airport.

Although there are still challenges with the supply of the fuel and the infrastructure to deliver it, EBAA supports the EU with its ReFuelEU Aviation initiative. Our sector looks forward to policy options that the EU intends to use in increasing the uptake and widen the geographical spread of SAF across the European Economic Area (EEA).

Market Based Measures

Identified in the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change (BACCC), offsetting is part of the ICAO basket of measures to help the industry achieve the goal of carbon-neutral growth. Offsetting can help companies reduce their carbon footprint as an overall set of emissions-reduction measures.  By investing in offsets, the purchaser is providing funds for projects such as: tree planting, low energy solutions, updating old technologies, providing services in emerging countries and can be contributing to improvements in education, communities and human wellbeing and access to fresh water.

Recently, EBAA, through its membership with IBAC, announced its new alliance with Carbon Trade eXchange (CTX) to provide a transparent and efficient platform for Business aviation companies to voluntarily purchase carbon credits to offset their CO2 emissions as part of an overall sustainability plan. There are also several regulatory market-based schemes, such as the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).


Spearheaded by a dynamic group of young business aviation professionals and supported by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), the industry is developing a new, three-tiered sustainability standard called S.T.A.R.S. – “Standards & Training for Aviation Responsibility and Sustainability”.

The new set of guidance will be integrated into existing IS-BAO and IS-BAH programmes – and will as well be provided standalone for organisations that do not operate aircraft, manage FBOs or provide ground-handling services as part of their activities.

The first tier of the programme will be launched in Q1 2024 and aims to support the business aviation industry by helping to increase awareness of social & environmental issues that can be addressed by the industry, build partnerships, and introduce guidance and best practices that will benefit – at once – our companies, customers, communities and society at large. The programme will assist and help our sector and its value chain make the Business aviation a more sustainable sector.

Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of challenges to all walks of life that were set out in 2015 as an update to the Millennium Goals originally established in 2000.

They seek to address climate change, end inequality, injustice and poverty amongst other important issues by 2030. While the SDGs apply to all, business, in particular, can align their sustainability portfolio with the SDGs, which will support them in achieving their own goals and supporting all three elements of sustainability.

While not all SDGs would apply at the same time to every business, they can be reviewed and applied as appropriate in aligning company goals with wider global aspirations.

For example; ICAO has aligned all of its global priorities and strategic objectives to the SDGs to ensure that developments and improvements within the aviation system support the initiative.

Contact the Policy
and Regulatory team

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Maureen Gautier Manager, Sustainability & Future Workforce

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