Collaborating to drive environmental progress
We recognize that we can’t achieve our goals alone. We need to work closely with policy makers, customers, airports and cross-industry partners, fuel producers, NGOs and more to reduce the emissions from flying.
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.
SAF Policy and Coalitions
United is actively shaping the conversation and direction around the energy transition in our industry by leading various coalitions to create demand and market signals incentivizing production of low carbon fuel and low carbon technology. United co-led the broad-based coalition of airlines, SAF producers, labor unions and technology companies that worked with federal policymakers, airports, and environmental NGOs to champion the passage of the Sustainable Skies Act SAF Blender's Tax Credit through the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark piece of policy and first ever climate legislation that invests in green energy among other environmental initiatives and technologies.
Recently, United also led an effort to incentivize SAF in Illinois, lowering the overall cost of SAF for consumption at the state level.
SAF Grand Challenge and First Movers Coalition
United, along with other Airlines for America (A4A) members, have pledged to work toward the Biden Administration’s SAF Grand Challenge to collectively make 3 billion gallons of SAF available domestically by 2030. United is a founding member of the Biden Administration's First Movers Coalition, a collective of leading companies committing to purchase low-carbon technologies in hard-to-abate sectors. Under this initiative, United has committed to a target of replacing at least 5% of conventional jet fuel demand with SAF that reduces lifecycle GHG emissions by 85% or more compared with conventional jet fuel by 2030.
Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance
During the COP26 conference, the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA), a non-profit initiative of the Environmental Defense Fund and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), as well as corporate travel buyers, established the Aviators Group, of which United was a founding member, to advance collaboration on demand signals for SAF.
Clean Skies for Tomorrow
The Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative (CST) is a global, cross-value-chain coalition facilitating commercial scale of SAF production for broad adoption by 2030, through supply, demand, policy, and financial levers. The Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition is led by the World Economic Forum, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Energy Transitions Commission.
Through A4A, IATA and Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), United collaborates on a global scale to facilitate the change needed to decarbonize aviation and advance sustainability within our industry. United is chair of A4A’s SAF Committee, a member of the global IATA Sustainability & Environment Advisory Council (SEAC) and involved in regular ATAG working groups.
Our industry collaboration brings us together with airport and our other air transportation business partners to address shared challenges and advance solutions that benefit air travel. We are committed to working with our industry partners as we have common climate and sustainability goals because we know that we are stronger when we work together on these shared issues.
Since 2009, United has been a strong advocate for a global market-based approach to addressing international aviation emissions. In 2016, ICAO adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which aims to limit the emissions associated with international aviation to carbon-neutral growth. The emissions from the majority of United’s international routes are expected to be included in CORSIA, and any emissions above the CORSIA baseline that United cannot reduce via the use of low-carbon technologies like SAF will require offsetting.
Through its participation in CORSIA work groups and other industry working groups, United supported the development and implementation of CORSIA and its design framework. Recently, United participated in a trial with the FAA on how to report SAF for CORSIA eligibility, consistent with our objective of helping to promote the production and use of SAF.
We donate travel on United to support non-profit scientists, cleantech innovators, and more on the frontline of the climate crisis, including partnerships with RMI, Delta Institute of Chicago, LA Cleantech Incubator, Elemental Accelerator, Denver Botanic Gardens, California Academy of Sciences and Shedd Aquarium. We believe in using our service of air travel to enable critical learnings and engagements that facilitate progress toward aviation’s decarbonization goals.
Further, in 2022, Denver based employees participated in a solar system install as part of United’s “September of Service”. GRID Alternatives Colorado, a non-profit solar installation company, worked with United’s “YourCause” to offer volunteer opportunities to assist in installing a no-cost solar electric system for an income qualified household near Denver, CO.
Empowering our employees to engage
In 2022, United took action to engage employees in our path to sustainable aviation by launching two employee groups. First, we launched a cross-functional Green Team within a business resource group focused solely on identifying and integrating sustainability initiatives companywide. In addition, our hub-based Eco-teams are comprised of operational, frontline employees passionate about local compliance and sustainability-related initiatives.