United’s purpose—“Connecting People. Uniting the World.”—impacts every decision we make, defines our view of what it means to be a global citizen, and reminds us of the robust influence we have on the world around us. Beyond connecting people, how can we truly unite the world? We believe our vision for a net-zero future can help do just that, by creating the lasting environmental change our world desperately needs.
For this reason, we are proud to help mitigate the effects the global aviation industry has on the environment. In order to see true change, we must be innovative in our approach. This means thinking beyond our utilization of carbon offsets and actually reducing the carbon emissions from our entire operation. We recognize that our approach of tackling emissions at the source, not simply offsetting them, is unique in our industry, but we believe it’s the only way to ensure lasting, sustainable change.
My personal passion for sustainability, along with the entire United family’s, fuels this endeavor. I truly believe in a carbon-free future, in which clean energy is used for each and every one of our flights. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do for the environment, for our business, and for every citizen of our planet. We know it won’t be easy, but we owe it to you and future generations to act before it is too late.
This is not about what we have to do or what we are required to do; rather, it is about our deep desire to lead the way in implementing real change, industry wide. That is why, when I think about the future of United Airlines, I envision a company that isn’t just evolving with the rest of the industry but an airline that’s leading a revolution in the fight against climate change.
As you can imagine, flying aircraft around the world requires a lot of fuel. Ninety-eight percent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the fuel we use on flights, and we recognize the contribution of these gases to climate change—and our responsibility. For that reason, United was the first U.S. airline to commit to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions—by 50 percent by 2050. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of removing 4.5 million cars from the road each year.
The most immediate way for us to reduce our environmental impact is through sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF is a low-carbon alternative to the fuel we use primarily today, and it is created from biomass, such as household garbage and waste oils. We’ve partnered with producers including Fulcrum BioEnergy and World Energy to build the supply of SAF.
In fact, because of more than a decade of significant investment in clean energy technology, United uses more SAF than the rest of the world’s airlines combined. Through solutions like SAF and other advancements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, we are already making important progress toward a cleaner, lower-carbon future.
More to Do
As we navigate these unprecedented times, our commitment continues despite the historic impact of COVID-19. In fact, our efforts to combat the impacts of the coronavirus have shown us how quickly we can adapt to the changing needs of our customers. This same ingenuity and flexibility will help us create a greener tomorrow.
I am proud of the work we have already done, and I know we have a lot more to do. Today,
we enthusiastically roll up our sleeves and get to work on the revolutionary changes needed to create a more sustainable tomorrow.