Our shared purpose

“Connecting People. Uniting the World” drives each decision we make

UN Global Compact commitment

At United, we have been committed to the Ten Principles set forth by the UN Global Compact for over a decade, and they continue to guide each decision we make across the organization. Within our 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report, you will find our approach, policies, and performance to implement these principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Our report is fully accessible online for all stakeholders to access. The report opens with a letter from our Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby, which further reaffirms our support of and commitment to the UN Global Contact now and in the future.

A message from our CEO, Scott Kirby

When we set out our shared purpose, “Connecting People. Uniting the World.”, we would never have predicted what the world was going to look like today. But if anything, the last two years have emphasized to us how important it is to work together, with purpose, partnership and pace to drive that connection.

Investing in success

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry over the last two years has been extraordinary. At United, we have opted for a different approach than many of our competitors. We recognized that it was important not just to survive the crisis, but also prepare to emerge from it stronger than ever. Over the last year, especially, we have accelerated preparations to become the leading global airline in the world.

Supporting customers

We have led the industry by overhauling our policies and strengthening our service culture to empower our people to take care of customers. We have eliminated – permanently – customer change fees. Using technology developed at United, we implemented Connection Saver, which saved thousands of customers’ connections – while ensuring their connecting flights arrived on time. These, and many other changes, have led to Net Promoter Scores that have increased by almost 30 points over the last two years.

Safety

United was the first airline to require masks on airplanes. We were among the first large employers in America that required our people to get vaccinated. We were the only major U.S. airline to run auxiliary power on airplanes to keep air flowing during enplaning and deplaning – a key factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19 onboard. Some of these decisions were controversial or costly, but it was the right thing to do.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

We are the only U.S. airline to own our own pilot training academy. It’s training the next generation of young pilots and 80% of our first United Aviate Academy classes are women or people of color. We’re launching a similar program for airplane maintenance technicians.

Sustainability

We are working to build the future of sustainable flight with our commitment to 100% green, becoming carbon neutral by 2050 without relying on traditional carbon offsets. Today, we’ve invested more in sustainable aviation fuel than any other airline in the world.

Force for good

At United, we refused to use the most disruptive crisis in our history as an excuse. Instead, we have capitalized on opportunities to lead our industry by simply doing the right thing. We’re committed to being a force for good – for our customers and the communities we serve.

Scott Kirby
CEO, United

The decisions we make as an airline are guided by our decade-plus-long commitment to the principles set forth in the UN Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. As a long-time member, United is fully committed to operating in ways that meet the fundamental responsibilities of the Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.

Our strategy

Travel is both essential and transformative. It has the power to lift economies, advance society, open hearts and expand minds. Millions of passengers every year (and tons of freight) rely on United to connect them to the world. As one of the world’s largest airlines we seek to use our scale to leave things better than we find them; to do better and to be better every day.

Highlights

30 Improvement in customer Net Promoter Score

80% Women and People of Color in current United Aviate Academy classes — the only pilot training academy run by a major U.S. airline

30% From 1990 to 2021, United improved its mainline fuel efficiency more than 30%

Our approach

Our approach is focused on 3 key pillars

Ethics and governance

Empowering and protecting people to make good decisions; ensuring the highest standards of safety, compliance and ethical behavior.

Key material issues include:

  • Ethics & compliance
  • Safety
  • Policy priorities
  • Lobbying & political activity
  • Human rights

Learn more about Ethics and governance

Environmental sustainability

Leading in sustainability by establishing an industry-leading target to go 100% green by 2050 and achieve net zero GHG emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, and, by 2035, reduce carbon intensity 50% compared to 2019.

Key material issues include:

  • Emissions & carbon neutrality
  • Fuel efficiency, sustainable fuel and innovation
  • Air traffic control

Learn more about Environmental sustainability

Supporting our people and communities

Empowering our world-class team to deliver for our customers and supporting global communities, including those in crisis; breaking down barriers to inclusion and diversity at all levels in the company and providing opportunities in our industry.

Key material issues include:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Supply chain management
  • Community engagement
  • Leadership development

Learn more about People and communities


For the first time this year we are reporting in alignment with the recommendations of the Task force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

How we manage corporate responsibility and ESG

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are integral to our business core and mission. United’s purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World,” but that’s no longer enough – we must ensure it has a future as well. For every customer, every flight, every day – United is ensuring we support the communities we serve; we advance diversity, equity, and inclusion; and we commit to being 100% green by 2050. United is taking an integrated, authentic, and transparent approach to our ESG management, reporting, and oversight.

Leadership, oversight & goals

Given the importance of our ESG performance to our financial performance and growth and our talent acquisition and retention, our ESG strategy is continuously shaped through priority assessments by our Chief Executive Officer and other senior management with insight, input and oversight from our Board of Directors. We also actively engage with a diverse group of stakeholders to listen to their concerns related to our ESG performance, and their feedback informs our ESG strategy. Through these assessments and conversations with stakeholders, we have announced several bold, quantifiable and time-bound ESG goals. These include pledging to become 100% green by eliminating our GHG emissions by 2050 without relying on the use of traditional carbon offsets.

Governance framework

Our governance framework includes direct oversight by United’s Board of Directors of our climate change risks, assessments, disclosures, strategy and external engagement. The Public Responsibility Committee has primary oversight responsibility for our ESG initiatives and risks, reviewing our sustainability and climate-related strategic goals and objectives, including periodically assessing our performance against these goals and objectives as well as other relevant and appropriate sustainability and corporate responsibility scorecards and rankings. Management periodically updates the Board on the implementation of United’s climate strategy and our public engagement on climate issues.

Public engagement

United’s public engagement on climate issues is coordinated through our International Regulatory Affairs and Government Affairs departments to ensure consistency across business divisions and geographies. At the senior executive level, United’s CEO is passionate about environmental sustainability issues and provides leadership in support of our initiatives, and our environmental programs and policies, including environmental sustainability, are overseen by United’s President and the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Global Public Policy. United’s Managing Director of Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability has day-to-day responsibility for environmental and sustainability matters, and reports to the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Global Public Policy, allowing for even greater synergies and alignment of our lobbying activities with our climate strategy.

Transparency

Transparency through active stakeholder engagement and robust public reporting of our strategy to and performance on climate change topics is essential to our climate strategy, allowing for our various stakeholders to measure our climate change performance and track our progress against our climate goals.

More detail on management of governance over climate issues is available in the TCFD section of this report.

United Corporate Responsibility summary

This summary is an accompaniment to United‘s online 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Download the summary