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Waste to Wing to enable sustainable aviation fuel production in South Africa

In South Africa, a consortium consisting of the enterprise development specialist Fetola, the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) and SkyNRG, a Netherlands-headed sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) sourcing, supply and development company are launching the Waste to Wing project. A first of its kind in the country, the project will determine the feasibility of using waste biomass to produce SAF in South Africa.

South African Airways taking delivery of a new A330-300 (photo courtesy South African Airways).

According to a joint statement, the consortium will pilot the development of 25 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises who will supply the raw material or feedstock. The project will demonstrate the workings of pre-treating the feedstock and converting it to sustainable aviation fuel. This will be the first step towards a local sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry.

Fetola’s reputation is built on growing the economy and creating jobs, by building businesses that last. The Waste to Wing programme provides us an opportunity to drive meaningful impact in a whole new value chain. Fetola will develop and build capacity within 25 SMEs to be reliable and commercially robust suppliers in an internationally strategic industry, said Catherine Wijnberg, CEO of Fetola.

Based in Cape Town, Fetola has a ten-year track record in supporting the long-term success of small and medium-sized enterprises across a range of sectors and in all nine provinces of South Africa. Fetola’s unique style and proven methodology is designed to build responsible, empowered and confident entrepreneurs who are equipped to weather the challenges of growing a business in today’s economy.

Fetola’s Enterprise and Supplier Development programmes have successfully transformed hundreds of emerging businesses, enhancing their long-term success as qualified suppliers and as independent businesses in their own right. The long-term survival rate, tracked over ten years of Fetola-led programme participants is 87.4 percent, three times the national average.

A strong requirement and guiding principle of the Waste to Wing project is that the fuel should conform to the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials’ (RSB) sustainability standard. The intention is to develop a fuel sector that promotes food security, biodiversity, and water, land and labour rights.

WWF is delighted to be part of this pioneering project that has huge industrial potential and which will be catalytic in shifting South Africa’s aviation sector towards a low carbon trajectory. We look forward to this opportunity to use our convening power to bring all relevant stakeholders together for the common goal of developing Africa’s first alternative
aviation fuel value chain and ensuring it conforms to the highest standard of sustainability, said Saliem Fakir, Head of WWF’s Policy and Future’s Unit.

The project has received EUR 1.2 million in financial support from the European Union’s (EU) “Switch Africa Green Programme” and it will also seek to share key learnings with other African Countries.

We are very proud to be included in the ongoing development of sustainable aviation fuels in South Africa. After supplying South African Airways and Mango with sustainable aviation fuel in 2016 through the Solaris project, we are eager to take the next step and start developing local production capacity in the region together with WWF and Fetola, said Maarten van Dijk, CEO at SkyNRG.

About Switch Africa Green

SWITCH Africa Green Phase II is an EU funded programme jointly implemented by UN Environmental Programme and EU in 7 countries in Africa. The overall objective of SWITCH Africa Green is to support countries in Africa to achieve sustainable development by engaging in the transition towards an inclusive green economy which has the potential to generate growth, create jobs and reduce poverty. The objective will be achieved through support to private sector-led inclusive green growth.

The specific objective is to develop green business entrepreneurship and the use of green economy and SCP practices by having in place (i) better-equipped businesses and (ii) conditions in form of clear policies, sound regulatory frameworks, incentives structures and tax and market-based instruments in the targeted sector(s).

The selected countries – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritius, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda – have developed and are currently implementing national and local SCP programmes and/or national green economy policies and strategies.

The Phase II of the programme builds on the achievements and learnings of Phase I also funded by the EU and implemented by UN Environmental Programme together with UNOPS and UNDP.

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