Supplier diversity

Diversifying our supply chain and building a strong network of small, diverse- and/or woman-owned businesses improves competition and innovation, supporting the next step in our growth.

Because of our size and global reach, we have the ability and responsibility to influence outcomes for many businesses and communities. Our mission is to procure the goods and services needed to run an efficient, innovative and competitive airline, while creating a positive impact in the communities where our suppliers do business.

Value and innovation through competition

United supports the competitive bidding model—it’s the right practice for our business to ensure we are finding the most qualified and competitive suppliers. With a renewed focus on identifying businesses from underrepresented communities, we are bringing more suppliers to the table to stimulate competition and innovation.

This includes woman-owned businesses, diverse-owned businesses and small businesses owned by socially disadvantaged people (Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDB)), women (Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB)), veterans (Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB)), service-disabled veterans (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB)) or those businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone).

It is United’s policy to take steps to ensure the inclusion of these businesses in United’s procurements. United recognizes that small and diverse businesses are vitally important to job growth and the economic strength of the communities where we live and work.

In 2023, United introduced 90 new certified diverse- and/or woman-owned businesses to our supply chain. These suppliers provide a variety of goods and services including staffing services, construction, ground service equipment maintenance, training, crew transportation and engine parts.

Our road to the Billion Dollar Roundtable

In 2021, United announced our intention to become a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR), a group of corporations recognized for:

  • Spending at least $1 billion1 annually with women- and/or diverse-owned businesses
  • Implementing business policy and practices to ensure program sustainability and diverse business growth and development.

We continue to make significant progress:

  • We ended 2023 with $497M qualified spend, 24% above our $400M spend ambition
  • While we are proud of our 2023 results, the three-year trend is most impressive: United has more than doubled our annual BDR-qualified spend each year since 2021

This bar chart details our road to the Billion Dollar Roundtable, showcasing how we spent our money supporting women- and/or diverse-owned businesses.

The green bars represent our Actual BDR-certified spend, while the blue bars represent our Objective BDR-certified spend.

  • 2020: Actual spend was over 750 million
  • 2021: Actual spend was over 50 million
  • 2022: Objective spend was 200 million and our actual spend was just under 200 million
  • 2023: Objective spend was 400 million and our actual spend was just under 500 million.
  • 2023: Projected objective spend is just over 600 million

Impact beyond the business

We continue to source the best suppliers for United while also generating impact for underrepresented communities.

When we work with small and diverse suppliers, it contributes to lasting economic empowerment, creating jobs and supporting more secure and stable communities for other businesses—including United—to thrive.

United commissioned SB Services, Inc., a woman-owned business, to conduct an Economic Impact Study to quantify the value our diverse spend delivers. In 2022, United spent ~$480M with certified and self-identified woman- and/or diverse-owned businesses.

This investment resulted in:

6,500 jobs created or sustained in the U.S.

$324M total wages paid in the U.S.

$590M total added to U.S. GDP

Executive accountability

Our executive team is accountable for driving this work. To ensure accountability at the highest levels throughout the organization, diverse spend goals are factored into executive compensation.


  1. Spend is BDR-qualified only if the supplier is certified by one of five agencies: Disability:IN, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the National Veteran’s Business Development Council and/or the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).