London, UK, 19 February 2020

The Sustainable Markets Initiative, a collaboration between HRH The Prince of Wales and the World Economic Forum launched at the Annual Meeting in Davos, kickstarted by exploring breakthrough solutions to decarbonize air travel.

The Prince hosted senior representatives from airlines, airports, energy companies, aircraft manufactures, innovators and the financial community to design pathways to accelerate the energy transition of the aviation industry. A suite of solutions would include:

  • Technological innovations including sustainable aviation fuel, battery and hydrogen propulsion systems
  • Attracting financing and investment to scale innovation for next generation aircraft, fuels and infrastructure
  • Policy changes required for, and obstacles to, incentivising the transition of the aviation industry to net-zero
  • Empowering consumers with information to press for aligned policy and aviation reform

The aviation sector has, over the last 50 years, revolutionised our society. However today, the sector - like the rest of humanity – faces its greatest challenge; how to grow sustainably in the face of climate change. In 2008 the industry adopted goals to achieve carbon neutral growth in aviation by 2020 and a decrease of 50% emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. However, despite significant efforts to this effect, emissions are on the rise and will continue to do so as global air traffic is projected to double by 2037.

In order to achieve carbon neutral flying by 2050 in line with science-based targets, significant additional efforts are required. Consistent with the Sustainable Market’s Initiative’s commitment to deliver tangible results quickly against its 10-point plan, several action areas were identified including:

  • The Whittle Laboratory in Cambridge will work together with other members roundtable to explore methods of accelerating technology development, and the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition will continue to advance transition pathways for the public and private sectors required to spur innovation over the next ten years.
  • Incentivising production and supply of sustainable aviation fuel through policy incentives and offtake commitments from airlines and large corporates, to accelerate investment in first of kind sustainable aviation fuel plants.
  • Engagement with governments around efficacy and fairness of policy measures for reducing emissions in aviation, exploring exemptions for airlines using sustainable aviation fuels, incentives to modernise airline fleets as well as mechanisms to reinvest tax proceeds into financing innovations for the energy transition.
  • Greater use of data to inform consumers, provide accountability and form the basis for interim benchmarks and KPIs.
  • A blueprint for financing the transition to net-zero drawing on the rise in demand for climate-aligned investment.

The event was attended by: Airbus; Aviation Environment Federation; Bank of America; Boeing Europe; British Airways; Dubai Airports; EasyJet; Energy Transitions Commission; European Forest Institute (EFI) ; Green Angel Syndicate; Heathrow Airport; Honeywell; ING Group; Inter-American Development Bank; i(x) investments; JP Morgan; Lanzatech; Lilium; Meridiam; Rolls-Royce; Royal Schiphol Group; Ryanair; Scandinavian Airlines; Shell; SkyNRG; Virgin Atlantic and Whittle Laboratory.

Roundtable series

Across 2020, through the Sustainable Markets Initiative, The Prince will convene industry and issue-specific roundtables including, but not limited to: water; carbon capture, storage and use; shipping; forestry; plastics; nature-based solutions; renewable energy; batteries, storage and electric vehicles; and traceability and labelling.

The Sustainable Markets Initiative

The Sustainable Markets Initiative and Council was launched to accelerate the global transition to sustainable markets and decarbonisation. The Initiative is calling on governments, businesses, investors and consumers to take the urgent and practical steps required to transition to more sustainable practices. To facilitate and catalyse this effort, The Prince will be convening a series of global industry and sector roundtables throughout 2020 to focus on: advancing transition pathways; improving consumer awareness; increasing sustainability across supply chains; identifying game changers and barriers; focusing financing and investment; encouraging research and
development into solutions; aligning metrics and standards; and encouraging the use of nature-based solutions.

The Sustainable Markets Initiative seeks to bring together global efforts in these areas and is working to positively contribute to this year’s key international meetings such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly and COP26 in Glasgow and the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.

For more information and for regular updates on the initiative, please visit the Sustainable Markets website:

Sustainable Markets Council

As part of the wider Sustainable Markets Initiative, The Prince of Wales has created a Sustainable Markets Council comprising global leaders from the public, private and philanthropic sectors. The Council serves as a “brain trust” working to accelerate the transition to sustainable markets and a net-zero global economy.

For further information and a full list of council members, click here.