Before applying, business aviation entities should review the criteria as listed in the program guidance documents summarized below, to see which accreditations they may qualify for and assess their readiness for accreditation. Program requirements include both quantitative and qualitative data, which applicants must collect and submit before the documentation submission deadline.

Note: While this page outlines the basic program requirements, the program guidance documents and other resources are the primary tools that applicants should use to assist them in achieving accreditation. All resources are publicly available in NBAA’s Learning Management System and an NBAA login is needed to access.

Participating business aviation entities will use the Emissions Data Form to submit three required components for a given accreditation:

  • Emissions Reduction Calculations
  • Individual Evidence
  • Sustainability Strategy

Applicants will receive a link to the Emissions Data Form directly and are encouraged to use the appropriate Emissions Data Form Guide to prepare for submission.

Emissions Reduction Calculations

The primary goals of the Sustainable Flight Department accreditation program are to acknowledge business aviation organizations that are taking steps to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO₂), and assist them on a pathway to meaningful but attainable change. This will be done specifically with the intent to achieve carbon neutrality over time.

A GHG is any gas in the Earth’s atmosphere which absorbs and re-emits heat which, as a result, warms the atmosphere. The primary GHGs in Earth’s atmosphere include water vapor, CO₂, methane (CH₄), nitrous oxide (N₂O) and ozone. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions will result from aircraft engine emissions. Aside from CO₂, climate impacts may result from aircraft engine emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOₓ), water vapor and soot particles. There is uncertainty measuring and evaluating trade-offs between these emissions, so policy actions have focused on CO₂. Until there is clear guidance and policy recommendations, the accreditation program will focus on CO₂ emissions.

The industry’s overarching objective is to reduce CO₂ emissions first, and then offset where we cannot reduce. While accreditation criteria are subject to change as new technologies and standards develop over the coming decades, initially the program will require a specific percentage of CO₂ net emissions reduction. The program requirements set applicants on a path to achieve a reduction of one-quarter (25%) CO₂ emissions.

Based on the program goals, the following standards were developed:

Accreditation Standards

Percentage CO₂ Net
Emissions Reduction
Transition Tier 10%
Tier 1 20%
Tier 2 35%
Tier 3 50%
Tier 4 65%
Tier 5 80%
Tier 6 95%+
Note: While it is not required to move up a tier upon each renewal (excluding Transition Tier to Tier 1), the program was created with that pathway in mind. Participants are encouraged to strive for carbon neutrality by 2040.

To initially achieve any of the four accreditations (Flight, Operations, Ground Support, Infrastructure) a company must document a minimum of 10% CO₂ emissions reduction or offsetting as compared to their baseline year. Organizations applying for an accreditation for the first time can enter at the Transition Tier. Applicants will be required to have completed their emissions reduction and any offsetting and compared that to their baseline at the time of documentation submission.

If entering at the Transition Tier, applicants will be required to scale up their emissions reduction to meet at least Tier 1 requirements by the time of renewal. To help participants reach the program goal of reduction of one-quarter (25%) CO₂ emissions, the program allows participants to scale up by 5% emissions reduction per year (15%, 20%, 25%), meeting an average of 20% reduction by the time of first renewal. The program averages accommodate for temporary external irregularities that may negatively impact sustainability efforts, as well as demonstrate participants’ long standing commitments to sustainability.

Organizations can apply for any of the four accreditations (Flight, Operations, Ground Support, Infrastructure) any year and enter at the Transition Tier by providing proof of a 10% CO₂ net emissions reduction of the previous calendar year as compared to their baseline year. Applicants can achieve any tier of accreditation at entry or renewal so long as they meet the requirements of that tier (excluding Transition Tier to Tier 1).

Applicants can use the respective Calculation Guides to calculate their CO₂ emissions.

Individual Evidence

In order to submit a successful application, business aviation entities will need to supplement their calculations and sustainability strategy with relevant qualitative and quantitative data. This is known as “individual evidence.”

The Program Requirements Documents identify which individual evidence is required for a given accreditation, and which data must be included in that evidence. For the Flight, Operations and Infrastructure accreditations, NBAA has also provided tracking log templates as optional tools for applicants to use when organizing their individual evidence. All individual evidence will be submitted via the Emissions Data Form. 

If a business aviation entity is lacking any data, or acquiring this data presents a significant challenge, the business aviation entity is encouraged to reach out to NBAA to discuss any alternative solutions that still allow the entity to meet accreditation requirements.

Sustainability Strategy

A business aviation entity’s sustainability strategy should act as a thorough roadmap for the entity’s past, present, and future initiatives, connecting them to organizational values and vision. It is an applicant’s chance to detail their commitment to environmental sustainability and their good-faith effort to foster a sustainability culture. It should be written as a comprehensive reflection of your entity, rather than solely for accreditation purposes. The goals and initiatives laid out in the business aviation entity’s strategy will be used as part of the grading criteria for re-accreditation.

All four accreditations require applicants to create a sustainability strategy. The overarching strategy elements are common to multiple accreditations. If applying for more than one accreditation, a single strategy can be submitted so long as it encompasses the required elements for each individual accreditation.

The Sustainability Strategy Templates provide a detailed outline of the information required in your business aviation entity’s Sustainability Strategy. It is recommended that applicants utilize this template in conjunction with the other program guidance materials to develop a robust strategy.