Microsoft will buy sustainable jet fuel to help reduce the environmental impact of its employees’ business travel, the tech giant said Thursday.
The Windows maker announced a partnership with Alaska Airlines to offset emissions from its staffers’ flights on three frequently traveled routes out of the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
Microsoft will purchase credits for the cleaner fuel — which is made from waste oils and agricultural residues rather than petroleum — from Dutch supplier SkyNRG, which will deliver the fuel to Alaska Airlines. The arrangement will cover carbon emissions from Microsoft employees’ travel between Seattle and San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose, the company says.
“We hope this sustainable aviation fuel model will be used by other companies as a way to reduce the environmental impact of their business travel,” Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business, said in a statement.
The deal follows Microsoft’s pledge earlier this year to become a “carbon negative” company by 2030, meaning it will work to remove more carbon from the environment than it pumps out.
Business travel accounted for roughly 3.3 percent of Microsoft’s total greenhouse gas emissions last year, a company fact sheet shows. Using SkyNRG’s sustainable jet fuel could help reduce that footprint given that it emits about 75 percent less carbon than standard fossil jet fuel, according to a news release.
Microsoft’s efforts come as the coronavirus pandemic continues to depress global air travel. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has said he doesn’t expect demand for business flights to return to normal levels until 2024 as more companies conduct business remotely thanks to the virus.
Microsoft nevertheless hopes other companies will follow its lead in supporting the sustainable jet fuel industry by creating a stable “demand signal” for the product.
“After a decade advancing sustainable aviation fuel, this partnership marks a significant milestone in the work to make [sustainable aviation fuel] a commercially-viable aviation fuel alternative,” Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement.
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