Our commitment to reduce our environmental impact requires collaboration. We proactively work to engage all our stakeholders—including customers, co-workers, partners and policymakers—to develop and implement meaningful environmental initiatives.
2015 partnership spotlight
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)
United expanded its partnership with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in 2015 and continuing into 2016. Through this program, United provides travel for research scientists from SCBI to study giant pandas and their habitats in China’s Qinling and Minshan Mountain regions. The scientists will be studying several new protected areas, including GuanYinShan Nature Reserve, where pandas have started to return after years of logging and human activity in the area. The scientists seek to understand how deforestation, habitat loss and climate change impact giant pandas and other wildlife species, and how they adapt to these changes.
The research is an extension of United’s existing partnership with Smithsonian.com. In 2014, United Eco-Skies commissioned the Sustainable Travel category in Smithsonian.com’s annual photo contest. The inaugural award went to the photographer and traveler who demonstrated leadership and an active commitment to travel for environmentally responsible purposes, generating positive social, economic or environmental outcomes in the local communities visited. United continues to sponsor the Sustainable Travel photo category where customers can submit their photos.
Clean Energy Trust
As a part of our commitment to environmental responsibility, we continue to champion those dedicated to advancing the research in alternative fuels for aviation and encourage those organizations to work to commercialize the industry. United Eco-Skies has supported the Clean Energy Trust and the Clean Energy Challenge since 2012 because of their work to fund and mentor start-up businesses working on clean energy technology.
United offers employees a chance to give back
Since the launch of our Eco-Skies Community Grant program, United’s employees have participated in and led volunteer projects in many of our hub cities that have given back more than $200,000 in value to our communities. In 2015, 10 environmentally focused nonprofits, including 808 Cleanups in Honolulu – which organized a program to protect sea turtles, coral and other marine life – each received funding of up to $5,000.
Learn more about United’s partnerships and stakeholder engagement.
Secure a national partner for the new United Eco-Skies Community Program that will engage, empower and educate our employees to make a positive environmental difference in the communities we serve.
In 2015, United received the World Bio Markets (WBM) Award for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels. Through United’s collaboration with AltAir Fuels, Honeywell UOP, World Fuel Services and Los Angeles World Airports, United began regularly scheduled flights on biofuel out of our Los Angeles hub on March 11, 2016.
A note on metrics reported in 2015
United Airlines most recently updated its environmental materiality assessments in 2014 to better understand and validate the airline’s critical material issues. The 2014 review took into account a broad range of stakeholders, including customers, airports in both mature and emerging markets, and the communities served and affected by those airports. The results of this assessment helped inform and shape the direction of United’s environmental efforts, stakeholder engagement and metrics reported. The highest priority issues identified in the materiality assessment include climate change mitigation and carbon reduction, biofuel initiatives, and regulatory compliance and technical operations improvements.