Delta commits $1 billion to become first carbon-neutral airline

The airline makes 10-year commitment to mitigate all emissions from March 2020.

Delta Air Lines has committed $1 billion over the next 10 years to mitigate all emissions from its global business. 

The airline will invest in advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.

The company will focus on:

Carbon reduction: enterprise-wide efforts to decrease the use of jet fuel and increase efficiency. Areas of focus include a fleet renewal program, improved flight operations, weight reduction, and development of sustainable aviation fuels.

Carbon removal: investing in innovative projects and technology to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere through forestry, wetland restoration, grassland conservation, marine and soil capture, and other negative emissions technologies.

Stakeholder engagement: building coalitions with employees, suppliers, global partners, customers, investors and stakeholders to advance carbon reduction and removal goals. 

Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian said: “There is no substitute for the power that travel has to connect people, which our world needs today more than ever before.

"As we connect customers around the globe, it is our responsibility to deliver on our promise to bring people together and ensure the utmost care for our environment."

The aviation industry accounts for roughly 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Delta’s carbon footprint is its largest environmental impact, with 98% of emissions coming from its aircraft. 

Delta added more than 80 new aircraft in 2019 in an effort to renew its fleet with aircraft that are 25% more fuel-efficient than the aircraft they are replacing.

Bastian said: “Though we don’t have all the answers today, we know that our scale, along with investments of time, talent and resources will bring meaningful impact to the planet and ensure the sustainability of our business for decades to come.” 

Delta has partnered with industry innovators to advance the development and production of sustainable aviation fuels, including Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels and Gevo.

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