A turnkey solution that can take any user of private aviation beyond carbon-neutrality to actual emissions reductions
At the 2021 National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), private aviation industry leaders affirmed their commitment to preventing climate change by achieving net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050, improving aircraft fuel efficiency by two percent per year through 2050 and achieving carbon-neutral growth from a 2019 baseline. The pledge comes as not only environmental advocates and governments, but also private jet travel owners and clients, make combatting climate change a key priority.
This commitment reflects the fact that ensuring an individual’s or company’s private flying is carbon-neutral has gone from praiseworthy to table stakes. While carbon neutrality is an important first step in reducing the climate impacts of private jet travel, two-thirds of an aircraft’s environmental impacts come from non-carbon dioxide warming pollutants such as water vapor, soot and contrails. We need to be prepared to go beyond carbon emissions neutrality to address harmful non-carbon emissions and on to measures that reduce the climate-warming effects of flying.
“Users of private aviation overwhelmingly want to do as much as they can to mitigate the climate impacts of their flying, but there was no actionable roadmap for them to follow,” said Kennedy Ricci, president of 4AIR, the first emissions reduction solution provider focused solely on helping private aviation participants to offset or reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-related pollutants. “That is why we launched 4AIR as a turnkey solution for users of private aviation that don’t have a sustainability program to begin one, or for those that do have one to easily enhance their sustainability efforts in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.”
How the 4AIR Framework Works
4AIR developed a framework based on four increasingly progressive levels of action that private aviation owners, operators and even passengers can easily adopt to create a personalized sustainability program. Each represents a level of action they commit to undertaking to mitigate the climate warming impacts of their flying.
Each level of participation comes with a 4AIR rating that simplifies the complexities of sustainability within private aviation and standardizes comparability so that all industry participants can manage towards the same goals.
“Just as ARGUS rates aviation safety programs, we provide independent ratings of aviation sustainability programs so industry participants can evaluate their progress against their goals,” said Ricci. “However, we take it one step further, since we also can provide a user of private aviation with a turnkey program for emissions offsets or reductions if it doesn’t have one. All they need to do is opt into a 4AIR level and let us handle everything else.”
4AIR participants can select from the following four levels:
4AIR Bronze: Carbon-Neutral – Starting with Carbon
4AIR Bronze allows participants to offset all of their CO2 emissions with verified carbon offset credits. 4AIR measures a client’s carbon emissions and then enables them to identify and purchase credits that fund specific, verified, real-world projects intended to offset carbon emissions, such as solar power plants in developing countries.
4AIR Silver: Emissions-Neutral – Because CO2 is Just One-Third of the Problem
4AIR Silver, truly innovative in the aviation sector, enables participants to be fully emissions-neutral, compensating for non-CO2 impacts with verified offsets.
4AIR Gold: Emissions Reduction – From Offsetting to True Reductions
4AIR Gold allows participants to not just offset emissions but actually reduce them by at least 5 percent. Solutions include operational improvements, low-emitting aircraft and – most readily today – the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Although the availability of SAF is still limited, participants can support its use by purchasing Sustainable Aviation Fuel credits through 4AIR.
4AIR Platinum: Climate Champion – The Aviation Climate Fund
4AIR Platinum allows participants to support new technology in aviation with a contribution to the Aviation Climate Fund, a fund aimed at supporting research and development in aviation sustainability. Direct contributions to the Aviation Climate Fund are made based on the participant’s carbon footprint.
Private aviation has made strides around sustainability and increased efficiency, but, in the coming years, the individuals and companies that use it will feel growing pressure not only to achieve carbon neutrality but be on a path to true emissions reduction.
“For most, carbon neutrality is the finish line. For us, it’s the starting line. We provide a clear, meaningful and verifiable pathway for anyone to start reducing their climate change impacts and then go beyond carbon and emissions offsetting to emissions reduction and, ultimately, to supporting the future of aviation sustainability,” Ricci said. “Our philosophy is to take something that can feel very daunting to private aviation users – meaningful sustainability – and make it easily doable.”