Environmental sustainability

United’s ambition is to play a key role in making air travel more sustainable. We are leading the way in reimagining the future of aviation with environmental responsibility and sustainability at the forefront.

This starts by acknowledging the challenge we face. Aviation is considered a hard-to-abate sector. United is committed to tackling the root causes of our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions so that we can realize meaningful, long-lasting change that supports a more sustainable future.

Key highlights

1st Airline globally to announce publicly a climate goal without reliance on traditional carbon offsets

1st US Airline to show customers an estimate of their flight’s carbon footprint when booking

1st Of its kind investment vehicle focused specifically on SAF technologies: the Sustainable Flight Fund, launched by United Airlines in 2023

Our environmental strategy

Our resolution to operate a more environmentally sustainable and responsible airline is woven into our strategy and values. We are committed to action and to holding ourselves accountable with our 2050 goal to reduce 100% of our GHG emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, like planting trees or voluntary carbon offsets, and our mid-term objective to reduce carbon intensity by 50% by 2035 compared to 2019. These targets are the cornerstones of our climate ambition. United’s strategy to realize these goals are centered around four key pathways:

  1. Reducing our environmental footprint
  2. Innovating in carbon reduction technology
  3. Removing carbon
  4. Collaborating with stakeholders

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Road to Net Zero

At the end of 2020, we pledged a net zero goal of reducing our GHG emissions by 100% by 2050 without relying on the use of traditional carbon offsets, like planting trees or purchasing voluntary offsets. We were the first airline globally to publicly announce we would not rely on offsets to realize our climate goals. We believe that, while this is the hard thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.

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Environmental compliance

We strive for excellence in environmental compliance, going above and beyond regulatory requirements. Using an in-depth environmental management system (EMS), United has long employed the plan-do-check-act approach to regulatory compliance.

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Commitment to environmental responsibility

We have further renewed our focus on sustainability initiatives within our operations, strengthening cross-functional teams and launching initiatives to drive sustainable operations while maintaining efficiencies across the business.

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Collaborating to drive environmental progress

We need to actively work with policy makers, customers, airports and cross-industry partners, fuel producers, NGOs and more to reduce the emissions from flying. And United is at the forefront of this collaborative approach to scale the supply of decarbonization technology solutions, minimize its environmental impact, boost environmental sustainability of the airline industry and protect the environment.

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