Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are one element of the ICAO basket of measures to reduce aviation emissions, which also includes technology and standards, operational improvements, and the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
In its Resolution A39-2 (2016), the ICAO Assembly acknowledged the need for SAF to be developed and deployed in an economically feasible, socially and environmentally acceptable manner and requested States to recognize existing approaches to assess the sustainability of all alternative fuels in general, including those for use in aviation which should: achieve net GHG emissions reduction on a life cycle basis; respect the areas of high importance for biodiversity, conservation and benefits for people from ecosystems, in accordance with international and national regulations; and contribute to local social and economic development, and competition with food and water should be avoided.
The Assembly also requested States to adopt measures to ensure the sustainability of alternative fuels for aviation, building on existing approaches or combination of approaches, and monitor, at a national level, the sustainability of the production of alternative fuels for aviation.
These Assembly requests related to SAF are being pursued by ICAO in various fronts:
ICAO GFAAF - The ICAO Global Framework for Aviation and Alternative Fuels (GFAAF) is the online database for sharing information related to sustainable aviation fuels. It contains links to over 600 news articles dating back to 2005, details of past and ongoing initiatives, facts and figures, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to additional resources. It also includes a live feed of flights using sustainable aviation fuels.
CAEP, through its Fuels Task Group (FTG), has been working on the development of processes and methodologies for consideration of SAF under CORSIA, including globally-accepted sustainability criteria and life cycle methodologies. Specific details on how SAF is considered under CORSIA are provided in the ICAO Environmental Report 2019, Chapter 6 - An Overview of CORSIA Eligible Fuels (CEF).
SAF Guide - As part of the ICAO-UNDP-GEF assistance project "Transforming the Global Aviation Sector: Emissions Reductions from International Aviation", a "Sustainable Aviation Fuels Guide" was developed to inform ICAO Member States on how sustainable aviation fuels can be deployed to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation activities. The guide describes fuel production pathways, usage constraints, environmental and other benefits, and policy perspectives on the use and development of SAF.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels can play a major role in reducing international aviation emissions. ICAO work to foster the deployment of SAF will continue, in support of the ICAO goal of limiting or reducing the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate.