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Tracking Airlines’ Path to Net Zero: IATA’s New Methodology Explained

Charting a course towards a greener tomorrow, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is set to launch its annual Track Zero report. IATA’s new Net Zero Tracking Methodology aims to keep airlines accountable for their sustainability commitments. Built on the solid foundation of IATA’s Net Zero Tracking Methodology, this report will spotlight the aviation industry’s journey towards achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

How the IATA Net Zero Tracking Methodology can Help Aviation Industry Players to Achieve their Sustainability Goals

Credit: Petmal, iStock

Developed in collaboration with industry experts, the Net Zero Tracking Methodology collects data from IATA member airlines on an annual basis. Once validated, IATA will release collective data from the preceding calendar year annually, beginning in Q4, 2024. Non-IATA member airlines were also invited to contribute data and participate in the reporting process. 

Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Sustainability and Chief Economist, emphasized the importance of transparency in this endeavor. “We will report our progress annually to ensure standardized, accurate, and comprehensive reporting of aviation’s journey to net zero. The industry-level data in the Track Zero report will arm airlines, governments, and investors with the tools to make informed decisions and expedite progress,” she said. 

Moreover, individual airlines can harness the Track Zero report data to gauge their strides toward decarbonization. They can also use IATA’s Net Zero Tracking Methodology to communicate their progress to key stakeholders such as governments, investors, and customers. 

Owens Thomsen further noted, “Decarbonization is an industry challenge, not a competitive issue. However, the report and its underlying methodology can catalyze benchmarking that could boost decarbonization efforts by disseminating successful practices and fostering innovation.” 

Key features of the Net Zero Tracking Methodology include

Standardization: The methodology lays out a transparent framework for accurate reporting that can be adopted industry-wide. It outlines the pertinent emissions scope, sources, and processes for emissions tracking and measurement. 

Accuracy: The methodology incorporates best practices for data collection and validation, minimizing administrative burden. 

Comprehensiveness: The methodology allows for the reporting of all types of decarbonization activities on a lifecycle basis. This includes the use of conventional and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and carbon offsets/carbon capture. It also includes future power sources (hybrid-electric, electric, and hydrogen-powered aircraft). 

IATA’s Five Roadmaps to Net Zero 2050 Flight

The decision to roll out the Track Zero report follows IATA’s unveiling of five roadmaps. These roadmaps outline crucial actions for aviation to hit the net zero CO2 target by 2050. They focus on aircraft technology, energy infrastructure, operations, finance, and policy. Together, they illuminate the path forward. They will evolve with the insights from the Track Zero report, hands-on experience, and emerging technologies. Armed with this information, the aviation industry can set interim milestones on the road to net zero.


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