NRDC releases 2016 Aviation Biofuel Scorecard

By Erin Voegele | June 24, 2016

The National Resources Defense Council has released its 2016 Aviation Biofuel Scorecard, which rates airlines on the sourcing and use of biofuels. The scorecard is now in its third year.

According to the NDRC, 29 airlines were surveyed for the 2016 report. Reponses were received from 19, an improvement over the 17 that responded in 2015. Rather than ranking airlines individually, this year the NDRC grouped airlines into one of four categories: leading, advancing, basic and nonresponsive. According to the report, the categories were decided on the basis of commitments to sustainable fuel supply chain development, sustainable fuel use, and monitoring and disclosure.

Air France/Royal Dutch Airlines, British Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines among the top-rated airlines this year, falling into the leading category. Under the advancing category, the report lists Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, Etihad Airways, GOL Airlines, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways, Thomson Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australian Airlines. Basic airlines include Aeromexico, Finnair, JetBlue Airways and Singapore Airlines. Nonresponsive airlines include Air China, American Airlines (now includes U.S. Airways), All Nippon Airways, Avianca Taca, Cargolux, FedEx Express Cargo Airline, Gulf Air, Lufthansa and Southwest Airlines.

The report includes information on regulatory processes and industry engagement in supply chain development. It notes aviation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are facing unprecedented regulatory scrutiny, including efforts by the International Civil Aviation Organization to cap GHGs from international flights and work by the ICAO and U.S. EPA to develop GHG emissions standards for aircraft engines.

The scorecard also describes eight specific recommendations suggested by the NRDC, including a recommendation that airlines make public commitments source only RSB-certified biofuels. A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the NRDC website.