sustainability

United Strengthens Sustainability Commitment

Airline supports organizations focused on clean-technology innovation, recycling strategies, and grassroots environmental education and justice

United announced it has teamed up with more than a dozen new environmental, nonprofit partners to advance sustainability efforts across the airline’s hub cities as well as Hawaii, complementing the airline’s commitment to become 100% green and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050.

Among the 16 new partners are Carbon180 and RMI, which have worked with United to support decarbonization and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) initiatives at a policy level; Delta Institute and Liberty Hill, which have participated in listening sessions and awareness events with United employees; and Galveston Bay Foundation and Kanu Hawaii, with which United employees volunteered in Houston and on the islands of Oahu, Maui and Kauai in local cleanups and sustainable agriculture activities throughout Earth Month.

Since 2018, United has contributed more than $60 million in cash and in-kind contributions to nonprofit partners and United employees have volunteered more than 220,000 hours in communities across the country. With the addition of these new sustainability partners, the airline now supports 27 organizations focused on clean-technology innovation, recycling strategies, grassroots environmental education and justice, and other social impact initiatives – more than any other major U.S. airline.

“We are excited to partner with nonprofits in every one of our hub markets who are focused on protecting the environment, advocating for change, and driving innovation in sustainability,” said Suzi Cabo, managing director, Global Community Engagement at United. “We have committed to becoming the most environmentally conscious airline in the world and, to achieve this, have a responsibility to drive meaningful change in the communities that we serve and put our people and planes to work for the greater good.”

United’s Global Community Partners

  • Global – Organizations that support broad programs from wildlife and nature conservation to renewable energy, located in the U.S. and around the world.
    • Audubon International
    • Carbon180*
    • Conservation International
    • Good360
    • GRID Alternatives*
    • RMI*
  • Environmental Innovators – Organizations that foster research, development and programming focused on reducing carbon in the atmosphere and promoting renewable energy.
    • Elemental Excelerator (San Francisco and Honolulu)*
    • LA Cleantech Incubator (Los Angeles)
    • Prime Coalition (Boston)*
    • Rutgers University (Newark)*
  • Environmental Justice and Equity – Organizations that fight to ensure a more equitable future for our communities’ most vulnerable members.
    • Air Alliance Houston (Houston)*
    • The Alliance Center (Denver)*
    • Delta Institute (Chicago)*
    • Groundwork Elizabeth (Newark)*
    • Liberty Hill (Los Angeles)*
    • San Francisco Baykeeper (San Francisco)
  • United Employee Social Impact – Organizations that support United’s on-the-ground commitment to connecting people and uniting the world through employee volunteer opportunities.
    • California State Parks Foundation (Los Angeles and San Francisco)
    • City Parks Foundation (New York City)
    • Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) (Washington, D.C.)*
    • Galveston Bay Foundation (Houston)*
    • Greater Newark Conservancy (Newark)
    • Kanu Hawaii (Honolulu)*
    • Mile High Youth Corps (Denver)
    • New York Restoration Project (New York City)
    • Potomac Riverkeeper Network (Washington, D.C.)*
    • Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)
    • Volunteers for Outdoors Colorado (Denver)*

*Denotes a new partnership in 2021.

United’s 100% Green Commitment

United believes the airline industry needs to be bolder when it comes to making decisions that confront the climate crisis. They have committed to become 100% green and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050 by taking the harder, better path of reducing emissions from flying, rather than relying on traditional carbon offsets.

Here are some of the ways they are making sustainability the new standard in flight:

  • United has more publicly announced SAF purchase commitments than any other airline in the world. In fact, United’s commitments are nearly as large as the rest of the world’s airline’s commitments combined.
  • In April 2021, they launched the first-of-its-kind Eco-Skies Alliance SM program. Working with the airline, more than a dozen leading global corporations will collectively contribute towards the purchase of approximately 3.4 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) this year.
  • In February 2021, they announced an agreement to work with Archer Aviation to accelerate the development and production of their electric aircraft – an urban mobility solution that has the potential to serve as an ‘air taxi,’ giving United customers another opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint before they even board a United flight.
  • In 2020, they became the first airline to announce a commitment to invest in carbon capture and sequestration by committing to a multimillion-dollar investment in 1PointFive, a joint venture between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital that plans to build the first industrial-sized Direct Air Capture plant in the United States. A single plant is expected to capture and permanently sequester one million tons of CO2 each year, the equivalent of the work of 40 million trees, but covering a land area about 3,000 times smaller.
  • In 2019, they committed $40 million toward an investment initiative focused on accelerating the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other decarbonization technologies. That same year, we operated the Flight for the Planet, which represented the most-eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of commercial aviation.
  • In 2018, they became the first U.S. airline to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions—50% by 2050.
  • In 2016, they became the first airline globally to use SAF in regular operations on a continuous basis with SAF from World Energy.

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