April 1 marks the beginning of Earth Month, giving us another opportunity to demonstrate what doing the right thing looks like at United. We’ve been focused on decarbonizing aviation for more than a decade, and we remain committed to investing in our future today for generations to come. We are taking real action when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. Decarbonizing the aviation industry goes beyond United, and as a company at the forefront of this effort, we want and need to spark change for travelers around the world. This means doing more than just acknowledging our climate impact; it means holding ourselves accountable to create and implement meaningful future changes.
Paving the Way for More Sustainable Travel
We are driven by our goal to become 100% green by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 100% by 2050—without relying on traditional carbon offsets. Sustainable flight may seem ambitious for a single company, but we believe that with the right forward-thinking mindset firmly rooted in science and technology, we can make our vision a reality and change how our industry operates for good. And we are not doing it alone. Together, with our industry peers, governments, and now customers, we are building tangible solutions and creating an industry from the ground up.
The Importance of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
The science is clear: SAF is the nearest and most accessible tool to reduce our carbon footprint. Although United was the first airline to use SAF in regular operations, and we have invested in more SAF than any other airline globally*, the industry as a whole is still in its infancy. That’s why we must lay the groundwork now to increase the overall availability of SAF, so that one day, hopefully in the near future, the cost of SAF will be at least competitive with conventional jet fuel.
Our Sustainable Flight Fund (SFF)
Decarbonizing the airline industry will take time and will require more than incremental changes. It is more critical than ever for United to invest in the right innovative technology solutions today. For this reason, we launched the United Airlines Ventures (UAV) Sustainable Flight Fund, a first-of-its-kind, $100 million investment fund to accelerate access to SAF. The fund launched in February of this year, with Air Canada, Boeing, GE Aerospace, JPMorgan Chase, and Honeywell as inaugural corporate partners, and it’s open to investments by corporations across industries.
Empowering Our Customers
We know many of our individual customers, like you, are interested in being part of the change. That is why United became the first U.S. airline to share an estimate of each flight’s carbon footprint as you search flight options on United’s website and app. We are also providing an option for you to contribute to supplement our investment in the UAV SFF when buying a ticket. The first 10,000 people to add to the fund receive MileagePlus® miles as a thank-you. Why? Because your actions matter. To put this into perspective, if the 152 million people who flew on United in 2022 each contributed just $3.50 to the SFF, it would be enough to design and build an SAF refinery capable of producing as much as 40 million gallons of alternative fuel annually**.
A Future Where Good Leads the Way
“Good Leads the Way” is United’s guiding principle. It drives us to make more responsible and sustainable choices across our airline to reduce our carbon footprint, and we are grateful to have you, our valued customers, by our side as we work toward this shared goal. Thank you for joining our mission to create the world’s most sustainable airline.
Chief Sustainability Officer
* 1 Based on publicly announced airline offtake agreements for future purchases of SAF.
** United derived these approximated figures based on an illustrative capital expenditure benchmark of $200,000 per barrel per day to build an SAF production facility.