RSB Book & Claim Manual set to accelerate aviation decarbonisation
After two years of stakeholder engagement and pilot testing, we are proud to announce the approval and publication of the RSB Book & Claim Manual (v3).
The RSB Book & Claim Manual is a procedure that sets out the requirements for registering, transferring and retiring the sustainability attributes of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), including the greenhouse gas emission reduction benefit, in the form of a Book & Claim Unit (BCU). It includes aspects related to sustainability certification, sustainability data points, claims, double counting and additionality.
RSB’s book and claim approach is grounded in our sustainability framework – the most trusted and credible approach to advancing the biocircular economy – and has been developed in close consultation with industry stakeholders, independent experts and environmental organisations. The main goals are to accelerate the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors, such as aviation and shipping, and provide the market with a robust and credible framework that can be used by any independent book and claim initiative to build trust and market acceptance.
The RSB Book & Claim Manual has been tested in several pilots with industry stakeholders performing BCU transactions on real SAF deliveries, including (in alphabetical order) Airbus, Airbp, Etihad, Microsoft, the Sustainable Aviation Buyer’s Alliance (SABA), Singapore Airlines, TotalEnergies, World Energy and United Airlines – as well as Shell Aviation for the related registry recognition framework development.
It also reflects alignment on aspects of sustainability, double counting and additionality achieved through multi-stakeholder engagement across peer initiatives such as the Smart Freight Centre, SABA (a joint initiative of the RMI and the Environmental Defense Fund), and the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Initiative.
Here are some examples of opportunities that can be unlocked by RSB’s book and claim approach in the aviation sector:
- An airline without physical access to SAF supply can purchase and claim the sustainability attributes of SAF.
- Corporate end-users can purchase SAF and claim the environmental benefits (e.g. greenhouse gas reductions) to reduce their business air travel emissions.
- Airlines with and without physical access to SAF can operate 100% SAF flights (up to 50% physically via mass balance + remaining share virtually via book and claim).
What is book and claim and why do we need it?
Buyers and end-users around the world are increasingly demanding sustainable fuels but cannot always access them via their existing supply chain network. This is the case, for example, with sustainable aviation fuel. SAF is currently produced and supplied in only a few countries and airports, meaning that it is often out of reach for the growing number of customers globally, which include not only airlines, but also their corporate customers who want to reduce their emissions from business air travel. In aviation, book and claim is a solution that enables airlines to purchase SAF without being geographically connected to a supply site, and to further transfer its sustainability attributes to their corporate partners. Technically speaking, book and claim is a chain of custody model that allows to ‘de-couple’ specific attributes, such as environmental benefits, from the physical product and to transfer them separately via a dedicated registry in the form of a Book & Claim Unit (BCU). This approach has already been successfully implemented in the renewable electricity sector.
Book and claim enables suppliers to reach many more customers than possible with physical, mass balance supply chains, and, while the customer may not technically fly or ship their goods on sustainable fuels, their purchase demonstrates market demand and supports the development of supply globally. In turn, they may claim the environmental benefits towards their voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
Why is RSB working on book and claim?
Ensuring that there is full traceability, and no risk of double counting is absolutely vital to maintain credibility and trust in the book and claim process. This means that producers and customers should use a system that is managed by an independent and trusted third party and is subject to regular independent audits. RSB is perfectly positioned to lead in the development of book and claim. Building on our best-in-class sustainability framework, which has been recognised by EU RED and CORSIA, our work has consistently prioritised sustainability and decarbonisation. Furthermore, as a global membership organisation, this has been a truly multi-stakeholder process, thus reflecting consensus from both industry, independent experts and environmental organisations. That is why we have been developing the RSB Book & Claim System, which includes the RSB Book & Claim Manual (normative procedure) and the RSB Registry (digital data storage system). The RSB Book & Claim System aims to accelerate the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors of aviation and shipping by providing a credible book and claim mechanism that:
- links limited supply locations with global demand, while global logistic networks are created;
- meets the growing demand from corporations and consumer brands for in-sector solutions to decarbonise both their freight and their business travel;
- and cost-shares the price premium of sustainable fuels.
Does the RSB operates its own book and claim registry?
Yes. We have been operating a foundational registry since 2021, which is currently being upgraded to a web-based application and is expected to be launched in 2023. We are also developing a Registry Recognition Framework, which will allow independent registries to demonstrate compliance to the RSB Book & Claim Manual to their clients and stakeholders, in so doing building trust and credibility for their claims. In addition, the framework aims to harmonise functions and data across an ecosystem of registry operators, thereby encouraging wider adoption of book and claim.
When will the RSB Book & Claim System be available for wider uptake?
Once our automated registry is operational in 2023, any company wishing to register, transfer and retire SAF BCUs will be able to use the RSB Book & Claim System. The system will be limited to aviation in this first phase, and will cover the use cases listed in the information box above. We will soon launch pilot collaborations to extend the RSB Book & Claim System scope to the shipping sector, and we expect to update the RSB Book & Claim Manual to Version 4 in 2024 to include specific requirements for shipping, as well as any additional learnings from implementation in aviation.
How can I get involved?
Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to be the first one to know when the RSB Book & Claim System is ready for launch. If you would like to propose a pilot partnership for additional aviation use cases or for shipping, please email [email protected] with information on the use case and list of partners.
Please note that pilots are open to RSB members only.