United and EDF Launch Partnership to Measure, Manage and Reduce Aviation Emissions

New initiative will focus on developing roadmap for 2050 carbon target to meet CORSIA goals

August 21, 2019
Cristina Mestre, (212) 616-1268, cmestre@edf.org
Jennifer Andreassen Burke, (202) 288-4867, jandreassen@edf.org

(CHICAGO – August 21, 2019) United Airlines and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today announce a new partnership to measure and accelerate greenhouse gas reductions across United’s operations and help the company meet its goal of cutting emissions 50% by 2050. Globally, emissions from the aviation sector currently account for roughly 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and are expected to rise significantly in the years to come as demand for air travel is projected to increase substantially, even as the industry’s fuel efficiency improves.

“Being an industry leader in environmental sustainability means more than just committing to reducing our carbon footprint; it means working together with respected organizations like EDF to help us implement practical solutions to overcome the most urgent environmental challenges we face as a company, industry and community,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines.

United has already taken early steps to begin addressing its carbon footprint. Moving forward, EDF will work with United to develop a roadmap to reach its 2050 target with credibility and accountability. 

As part of their joint work, United and EDF will evaluate how to meet, with high integrity, the ambitious targets laid out in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the new market-based measure under the United Nation’s aviation agency to limit the net carbon emissions of international flights. United has already begun monitoring its emissions as specified in CORSIA.   

Together, EDF and United will analyze options for identifying high-quality carbon offsets that represent real, permanent, verified emission reductions; that deliver local environmental benefits; and are properly accounted for. United and EDF will collaborate with Conservation International, which currently offers United’s customers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets via the airline’s Eco-Skies Carbon Choice program.

“Accelerating carbon reductions from the aviation sector is critical to solving the climate crisis,” said Fred Krupp, president of EDF. “Powerful partnerships like the one EDF is forming with United align the strong science, market forces and information sharing needed to scale change, providing a blueprint for other airlines to follow. We’re grateful for United’s leadership and look forward to a productive partnership.”

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About Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. EDF does not accept donations from its corporate partners. Connect with us on our EDF+Business blog, EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.

About United

United’s shared purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” We are more focused than ever on our commitment to customers through a series of innovations and improvements designed to help build a great experience: Every customer. Every flight. Every day. Together, United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 356 airports across five continents. In 2018, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 158 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 783 mainline aircraft and is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UAL”.