Eco-Skies®, our commitment to a sustainable future, lasts well beyond Earth Month and is an ongoing collaboration to reduce our emissions, keep our landfill contribution to a minimum and encourage green initiatives around the world.
The past year’s accomplishments
In the past year, we’ve made great strides in reducing our impact globally.
Last June, we agreed to purchase 15 million gallons of cost-competitive, sustainable, advanced biofuels
from AltAir Fuels in what was called a “historic milestone for aviation”. The agreement underscored United's efforts to be a leader in alternative fuels as well as our efforts to lead commercial aviation as an environmentally responsible company.
The sponsored emission-reduction projects are selected based on proximity to our major hubs, and have all been verified by a third-party to adhere to internationally recognized standards. The current portfolio of projects includes support for forest conservation in California and Peru, as well as renewable wind energy in Texas.
This February, one of our Boeing 737-800s was the first commercial aircraft to fly with new Split Scimitar winglets
. The design demonstrates significant aircraft drag reduction over the basic Blended Winglet configuration we use on our current fleet. “We are proud to be the first airline in the world to fly with this unrivaled winglet technology that cuts our fuel consumption while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions,” said Ron Baur, our vice president of fleet.
And last month, we started rolling out new, eco-friendly hot beverage cups
in United ClubsSM
and onboard and simultaneously improved our recycling procedures across the company. The insulated InCycle® cup
is made from at least 50% recycled materials and the fact that it’s insulated eliminates the need for a sleeve, further reducing waste. The new cups are recyclable and replace the polystyrene cups previously in use. We’ve also launched a new comprehensive recycling program across our operations and in our Clubs.
Throughout the year, co-workers nominate and volunteer with local non-profits impacting their communities for Eco-Skies Community Grants. This year, we awarded over $50,000 to deserving service projects all over the world. It’s this kind of company-wide collaboration that earned us Air Transport World magazine’s Eco-Aviation “Airline of the Year”
Earth Month 2014
We’re celebrating Earth Month with a number of events in the communities we serve.
Earth Day, April 22 we’ll host a Green Travel Exhibition at New York’s Earth Day celebration in Union Square. Join us from 11am – 7pm for tips on green travel destinations, products and associations. On April 25, nearly 100 Chicago co-workers will plant trees in Columbus Park in honor of Arbor Day. Throughout the month, many of our hubs are hosting Eco-Skies awareness co-worker events
Make a difference with your miles
In celebration of Earth Month, MileagePlus® members can now redeem their miles for offsets to cover the carbon emissions associated with their air travel. The new carbon-offset mileage-redemption program
, the first of its kind to be offered by a U.S. carrier, supports projects that benefit renewable wind-power generation and forest conservation.
Members can choose to offset their emissions after booking on united.com and selecting from a list of United Eco-Skies partners to redeem their miles for the offset.
"Our customers know that when they travel on United, they are giving their business to a company with an environmental commitment that is focused on fuel efficiency, advancing biofuels, and looking for more sustainable products and services," said our Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Angela Foster-Rice. "This new MileagePlus carbon-offset program is another way we are providing our customers an opportunity to make a difference when they travel by contributing to emission-reducing projects."