Doreen Burse, Senior Vice President Worldwide Sales, United Airlines
United Airlines is proud to sponsor the Business Travel News “Sustaining the Future: State of the Practice in Reducing Business Travel Emissions” report and to support our collective goal of furthering sustainable practices in corporate travel.
We recognize the role we play as an airline in contributing to climate change and therefore our responsibility in solving it.
True sustainability means taking on the biggest culprit in our industry – the emissions generated by our aircraft. That’s why we have embraced a bold new goal: to be 100% green by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050.
To achieve this goal, we’re taking actions like continuing to invest significantly in sustainable aviation fuel; announcing our intention to invest in a start-up company that will use direct air capture technology to remove carbon dioxide from the air; and working with a leading urban air mobility company to accelerate production of advanced, short-haul electric aircraft. These are not easy solutions, but we want sustainability to be the new standard in flight, and we are committed to doing the right thing for the long term.
While I’m particularly proud of all we’re doing at United to lead the way toward real solutions and lasting change, I’d like to celebrate the alignment we see across our industry to tackle these essential problems. By taking these critical steps now, we’ll help ensure future generations will have a world to discover.
United’s bold environmental commitment is unmatched by any airline. 100% green. Carbon neutral by 2050. Without offsets.
At United, we’ve committed to fight climate change by pledging to become 100% green by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050. We see two paths leading to a solution — sustainable aviation fuels and investing in emerging technologies — and we’re committed to leading the rest of the industry down each path. We recognize the role we play as an airline in contributing to climate change and therefore our responsibility in solving it. We want to lead our industry and collaborate with other industries toward real solutions and lasting change.
Our path to decarbonization
True sustainability is about taking on the biggest culprit in our industry — aircraft emissions. Unlike other airlines, we’re looking beyond using carbon offsets and tackling emissions at their source by continuing and accelerating development and investment in:
Sustainable aviation fuel
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is made from renewable resources and waste byproducts and has up to 80% fewer carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel, making it the fastest and most effective way we are reducing emissions across our fleet. We have invested heavily in SAF for more than a decade now, and we hold nearly half the world’s publicly announced future SAF commitments.
Direct air capture
Carbon capture and sequestration is widely viewed by scientists as a necessary step to limit climate change. We intend to make a multimillion-dollar investment in a startup that will help fund the first Direct Air Capture plant in the U.S. This is a technology that captures carbon dioxide directly from the air so it can be buried deep underground or reused. Capturing and sequestering carbon is similar to what trees do as they photosynthesize but at greater scale, because one Direct Air Capture facility is expected to capture and permanently sequester one million tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of 40 million trees.
Embracing emerging technologies
As part of our vision to make sustainability the new standard in flight, United will also look at ways to support emerging technologies, as we’ve already done with our agreement to work with a leading urban air mobility company. We’ll lend our expertise when and where we can, just as we’re doing to help accelerate production of new electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that have the potential for future use as an ‘air taxi’ in urban markets. This is just one example of our commitment to identify and invest in innovative technology that can reduce carbon emissions while also improving the customer experience.
Recognised as a leader in sustainability
Our award-winning Eco-Skies program represents a commitment to the environment and actions taken every day to create a more sustainable future. Beyond just fuel efficiency, to incorporating sustainable products and fuel sources, we’ve been serious about reducing emissions and improving our sustainability of our products for decades. The Carbon Disclosure Project named United as the only airline to its 2020 ‘A List’ for our actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and develop the low-carbon economy — our seventh consecutive year with the highest CDP score among U.S. airlines.
Climate change affects us all. Now is the time to double down on big commitments that really change the world. This is our chance to make a difference that will last for generations to come.