Environmental sustainability

United celebrates people and communities across our planet as we seek to become the most environmentally conscious airline in the world.

Our contributions support:

Programs focused on addressing climate change, improving local air and water quality, and reducing waste.

Recycling and redistributing decommissioned goods.

Research and development programs focused on reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Working with environmental partners in our communities to better understand and reduce our impact on the planet.

Earth Month

United celebrated Earth Month by volunteering across our network. United volunteers dedicated more than 890 hours to helping clean local parks, beaches, and riverways in our local communities. We give special thanks to our participating non-profit partners:

Shedd Aquarium (ORD)
Potomac Riverkeeper Network (IAD)
Galveston Bay Foundation (IAH)
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (DEN)
California State Parks Foundation (LAX and SFO)
San Francisco Baykeeper (SFO)
Kanu Hawai’i (HNL)

United hosted 20+ volunteer events in 2022 with our environmental nonprofit partners. In addition to volunteering efforts, United provides monetary and travel support to these nonprofits exceeding $1 million in annual donations to some of the following nonprofits:

Cleantech incubators

United partners with cleantech incubators: LA Cleantech Incubator, Elemental Excelerator and Greentown Labs. These organizations provide additional “deal flow” and insights to United’s environmental and United Airlines Ventures innovation goals. United was an inaugural supporter of Greenbiz.org – a new nonprofit organization with a mission to promote and encourage greater diversity in corporate sustainability.

Pledge to our Keiki program with Kanu Hawaii and Conservation International

In 2022, we launched our Pledge to the Keiki offer with the goal of protecting Hawai'i for future generations. “Keiki” (kē’-ī’-ki) means “child” in Hawaiian. For more than 75 years, we’ve had the privilege of serving Hawai’i and enjoying its natural beauty and rich culture. Currently, more than 1,000 employees call Hawai’i home. However, much of Hawai’i’s delicate ecosystem is endangered, and we are pledging to make a difference.

United’s Hawai’i-based nonprofit partners worked with students from multiple islands and local schools to create the Pledge To Our Keiki, a commitment to respect and care for the island places that they call home so that future generations can continue to enjoy all that Hawai’i has to offer.

The video in our promotion was commissioned through support by United and features local keiki sharing the Pledge in locations throughout the islands.

Learn more about the pledge

Good360 Partnership

Along with redistributing decommissioned goods from our offices and airports, United also collects and redistributes unused United amenity kit items to avoid them going into a landfill. Unused elements of the amenity kits are collected after flights and packed into hygiene kits for local shelters as well as stored for distribution after natural disasters.

United hosted a kit building event at IAD in September; packing 3,000 kits.

GRID Alternatives solar panel installation

GRID Alternatives works with underserved communities and organizations across the US to fund, plan and develop solar projects. The solar installations incorporate workforce development and provide paid training opportunities and long-term job placement support to local community members. GRID’s work requires heavy travel and can become logistically challenging to relocate their team to different projects.

That’s where we come in. As a partner of GRID Alternatives and GRID Alternatives’ Tribal Program, we provide travel vouchers and monetary grants to make sure their team can be on the ground, no matter where the next project is.

In April 2022, we provided vouchers for their team to travel to Spokane, Washington, so they could wrap up an ongoing project with the Spokane Tribe of Indians. The project, Children of the Sun Solar Initiative (COSSI), implemented a total of 650 kW-DC of solar power on residential and community buildings. The systems are expected to produce 15,747 megawatt hours of clean renewable energy and save the tribe a total of $2.8 million over a 30-year lifetime.

Once the project in Spokane was completed, the Tribal Program utilized United travel vouchers to fly to their next project in Towaoc, Colorado, where they worked with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Once on the ground, the team installed 160 kW-DC of solar power in total. Twenty-three of the systems were residential rooftop installations, and one system was a larger ground mount at the tribe’s supportive housing facility.

Sustainability projects like these are incredibly important to native tribes. The COSSI project came about after the Cayuse Mountain Fire in 2016 destroyed 14 homes and tens of thousands of acres of tribal land. The Spokane Tribe decided to invest in energy sovereignty and climate resilience — with solar power.

In September 2022, United volunteers also participated in two GRID projects in Denver and Los Angeles, installing more than 20 solar panels onto homes. We also provided funds for GRID to install solar panels on the Mile High Youth Corps building in Denver.