Embraer electric Ipanema
Embraer, which has rolled out ambitious sustainability and inclusivity plans, recently flew the all-electric Ipanema demonstrator as part of this effort. (Photo: Embraer)

Embraer Goes All-In on Sustainability

The manufacturer has outlined a multifaceted plan to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2040.

Embraer is embarking on a multifaceted sustainability plan that includes a commitment to carbon-neutral operations by 2040. The company is establishing a series of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) targets, including carbon neutrality and the launch of a zero-emission eVTOL aircraft by 2026.

“At Embraer, we recognize the urgency of the climate crisis and we are fully committed to a more sustainable future. We are stepping up our efforts to minimize our carbon footprint by remaining dedicated to innovating solutions that have a broader impact for our customers, local communities, and aircraft,” said Embraer president and CEO Francisco Gomes Neto, who added that the company has aligned its business strategy with social and environmental responsibility.

These initiatives further support the aviation industry's goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Embraer said. The airframer plans to develop products, services, and other sustainable technologies, such as electrification, hybrid, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and other innovative energy alternatives. The company further will offset residual emissions through efficiency projects, available alternative energy, or advancing technology.

To reach carbon-neutral operations by 2040, Embraer has set targets of a 50 percent reduction in net carbon emissions by 2040 from the 2018 baseline, 100 percent energy from renewable sources by 2030, carbon-neutral growth from 2022 with 2021 as the baseline, and the use of SAF this year.

Embraer is collaborating with Avfuel to bring Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to Melbourne Orlando International Airport. Avfuel delivered the fuel to the Sheltair FBO in Melbourne for storage and handling, and Embraer plans to use it for its ongoing operations there. Initial deliveries began on July 14.

"More than 60 percent of our Scope 1 emissions are associated with the consumption of jet fuel, linked to flight tests, production flights, and ferry flights," said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer's senior vice president of engineering, technology development, and corporate strategy. "In the third quarter of this year, we began using SAF in Melbourne, Florida, the headquarters of Embraer Executive Jets. We will increase the use of SAF throughout the next years, and we set a goal of using at least 25 percent SAF in all our operations by 2040."

To reach net-zero aviation emissions by 2050, Embraer also is exploring the development of electric and other technologies, including eVTOL aircraft, and also plans to work with suppliers to make aircraft compatible with the use of 100 percent SAF. This includes working to expand the global SAF production scale.

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NASA says aircraft burning a 50/50 SAF blend produce 50 to 70 percent fewer ice crystal contrails at cruising altitude.

On the technology front, Embraer has flown an all-electric demonstrator based on the EMB-203 Ipanema in partnership with WEG and EDP, two of the largest electric mobility solutions providers in Brazil.

The company launched an urban air mobility subsidiary, Eve, in late 2020 and more recently has been in talks with Zanite Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company formed by business aviation entrepreneur and Directional Aviation Capital principal Kenn Ricci, and Steve Rosen, who is co-CEO with Ricci of Resilience Capital Partners.

The plan expands beyond sustainability into social responsibility, including providing key programming and educational initiatives in local communities. Embraer is launching a “Social Tech” program that offers training and tech-related job opportunities for some 1,500 people from underrepresented groups in technology by 2025. Embraer also is striving to have 25 percent of women in its in-company master of science in aeronautical engineering program by 2025.

“The demand for qualified professionals in the technology field is growing in the global job market; however, they are often not within the reach of underrepresented groups. With Social Tech, it is our hope to contribute to eliminating these social and economic barriers,” said Carlos Alberto Griner, Embraer vice president of people, ESG, and communications.

Embraer further plans to emphasize social inclusion within the company through continuous diversity and inclusion training, as well as recruitment. It has set a goal of 50 percent diversity hires for entry-level programs and 20 percent women in senior leadership by 2025.