Carbon Neutral from March 2020 Onward

Delta’s commitment to sustainability is about joining arms to create a better world. The airline’s ambitious commitment to carbon neutrality from March 2020 onward is coming to fruition with swift impact through immediate actions, coupled with long-term investments to combat climate change. These investments will drive innovation, advance clean air travel technologies, accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establish a path to a more sustainable future.


As a company driven by purpose, we hold ourselves to a high standard of producing sustainable, responsible financial results while investing in healthy communities, maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce, and protecting natural environments. These values drive our overall approach to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) sustainability and responsibility. Learn more about how we measured against this purpose while facing a global pandemic and the most dire financial situation in the history of our airline.

An Ambitious Path Forward

Delta is focusing these efforts on three areas: carbon reduction and carbon removal, stakeholder engagement and coalition building. 
Jet fuel is the No. 1 contributor to Delta’s carbon footprint and the chief focus of our efforts to reduce our emissions and manage our environmental impact.

Building a more efficient fleet

We focus on building our fleet to have the longest, most sustainable life possible to make the most of our planet’s resources. Over the past year, we’ve retired more than 200 aircraft and are replacing them with aircraft that are 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the models that are being replaced.

Reducing emissions through Carbon Offsets

Carbon offsets reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which lowers greenhouse gas levels – the primary culprit for global warming and climate change. To ensure we are fully carbon neutral since our commitment was announced, Delta is addressing 13 million metric tons of its carbon dioxide emissions from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 through verified offsets.



Because we’ve committed to carbon neutrality from March 2020 forward, you can feel confident that when you choose to fly Delta, your flight will be carbon neutral.  While we have suspended our current customer offset purchase program, we are developing new options for customers who want to join us on our journey.

Alternative fuels, sustainable future
Delta’s medium-term goal is to replace 10 percent of its jet fuel refined from fossil fuel with sustainable aviation fuel by the end of 2030. Delta has even started executing industry-leading sustainable fuel agreements with corporate customers to support a future of more sustainable business travel.

Improving Our Environment by Reducing Our Impact

Delta continually assesses all aspects of our operations to minimize what we send to landfills and identify opportunities for material reuse and recycling.

Reducing Single-Use Plastics

We use compostable stirrers onboard and removed wrappers from cutlery and amenity kits, eliminating 30K lbs. of waste annually. We’re evaluating changes to more single-use plastics through lifecycle analyses.


Since 2007, we’ve recycled more than 3 million pounds of aluminum onboard and, with the rebates, have funded  the construction of 12 homes through Habitat for Humanity. 

Waste Reduction Highlights


Delta is partnering with universities, foundations, and others to explore circular economy solutions to waste.


A donation program was launched in 2020 to divert food, blankets, amenity kits and other provisioning items to various organizations. 2.6 million pounds of materials were donated last year.


All Delta Sky Clubs use eco-friendly packaging for to-go foods. MSP, SEA, and SFO clubs are zero-waste, as in 90% landfill diversion. These clubs recycle, compost, and provide eco-friendly food service items.

News Feed

The launch of Delta’s inaugural ESG Report is a pivotal moment in the company’s commitment to being purpose-driven and highlights its intention to be a catalyst for global change, from its Board of Directors to its front-line employees. As a company that connects people with opportunity, Delta recognizes its role in growing empathy, respect and care for the planet and the people within it.

“Over the past year, we have taken on bold commitments to be a driver of change for diversity, equity & inclusion and environmental sustainability, within our industry and beyond,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer. “Neither of these come with an easy solution and will take time and resources to drive real impact, which is why we must be transparent about the progress we make.”

The 2020 ESG Report is a snapshot of Delta’s environmental, social and governance progress covering the period from January 1 to December 31 and takes a detailed look at important areas like health and safety, climate change, and human capital management, including diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the governance framework we have in place with respect to each of them. The report was informed by the reporting standards of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, and future iterations of the report will continue to build on ESG content and analysis.

Read More:

Delta Air Lines’ audacious commitment to carbon neutrality from March 2020 onward is coming to fruition with swift impact through immediate actions coupled with long-term investments to combat climate change.

“Connecting the world and protecting our environment for future generations cannot be mutually exclusive,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Travelers should not have to choose between seeing the world and saving the world. We must continue to take immediate actions today and can’t wait for future solutions to become a reality. While there are many paths to carbon neutrality, Delta chose to make an impact today and invest in a future where aviation itself becomes cleaner for the world around us.”

In the short term, Delta intends to achieve carbon neutrality by directly reducing emissions through fleet and operational efficiencies and addressing remaining emissions through carbon offset project investments that maintain, protect and expand forests

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Delta and Deloitte are one step closer to sustainable business travel, thanks to a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) agreement covering a portion of Deloitte’s business travel.

Deloitte is one of Delta’s first corporate customers to purchase SAF facilitated by Delta. It is part of the airline’s longstanding commitment to work with customers to reach collective goals for the greater good of our planet.

“Delta’s continued focus on sustainability, especially during a pandemic that has severely impacted its business, speaks volumes,” said Joe Ucuzoglu, Deloitte’s U.S. CEO. “By collaborating with Delta to increase the use of sustainable aviation fuel, Deloitte is proud to positively impact our carbon footprint while investing in a more sustainable future.”

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With global industry slowing to a near standstill, widespread economic devastation will likely have painful impacts for years to come. That’s why we believe more strongly than ever in our mission to connect the world – to foster understanding across cultures and nations while enabling the highways of commerce that supply the lifeblood of the global economy. Meanwhile, as hundreds of millions have stayed at home, cleaner waterways, skylines and national forests show off the magnificence of our planet.

But connecting the world and keeping it beautiful for future generations cannot be mutually exclusive. 

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Starting March 1, 2020, Delta Air Lines is committing $1 billion over the next 10 years on its journey to mitigate all emissions from its global business going forward. The airline will invest in driving innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.

“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,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO. “The time is now to accelerate our investments and establish an ambitious commitment that the entire Delta team will deliver.”

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Building on its $2 million investment for an ongoing feasibility study with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels (NWABF), Delta has entered into one of the largest airline offtake agreements of its kind to purchase sustainable aviation fuel, if produced, from NWABF.

The feasibility study, announced in October 2019 and currently underway, is expected to determine the potential for a facility in Washington state that could supply sustainable aviation fuel for Delta operations in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles by mid-2020. Read More 

Customers who choose to offset their travel using the upgraded carbon calculator with Delta fund projects across the planet that use natural climate solutions and make a measurable difference in the atmosphere. These projects restore ecosystems and address deforestation, in addition to supporting local communities by offering job opportunities and economic growth.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, customers now have more – and easier – ways to join Delta in its work to fly more sustainably. Starting this month, Delta customers will be able to use the global airline’s upgraded carbon calculator to choose from four new carbon offset project options – each of which has verified emissions reduction impacts that align with United Nations Sustainable Development goals.

Read More


View all of our sustainability updates.

Glossary of Terms

  • Carbon avoidance (external to Delta, an offset type): Offsets that result in avoidance of additional emissions, such as preventing deforestation and protecting forests to ensure they continue to absorb carbon dioxide. 
  • Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas. It is also a by-product of burning fossil fuels (such as oil, gas and coal) and industrial processes (such as cement production).
  • Carbon neutral: Carbon neutrality means for each ton of carbon dioxide we emit, we are securing a verified, certified ton of carbon dioxide reduction. In the short term, Delta intends to achieve its carbon-neutral goal by reducing emissions through direct reductions from fleet and operational efficiencies, as well as investments in all types of verified carbon offsets: reductions, avoidance and removals. This includes the airline’s jet fuel consumption emissions as well as indirect emissions from power generated elsewhere, also known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Delta’s carbon-neutral efforts also cover emissions generated by fuel consumption from Delta Connection carriers, which are Scope 3 emissions. See Scope 1, 2 and 3.
  • Carbon offset: A carbon offset is a certificate generated for the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions from an offset project. 
  • Carbon reduction (within Delta): Carbon reduction in aviation is achieved by reducing fuel burn. This can be done in our operation by flying more efficiently due to routing, engine performance management, or reducing weight, as examples. Reductions can also occur by using a more fuel-efficient fleet and new fuel technologies, like sustainable aviation fuel. 
  • Carbon reduction offsets (external to Delta, an offset type): Offsets that invest in technology or projects that result in a reduction in emissions. Examples are conversions to lower-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar. 
  • Carbon removal (external to Delta, can be an offset type): Carbon removal is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it. Examples include planting new forests (afforestation/reforestation), increasing the amount of carbon stored in soils (soil carbon sequestration) and building machines that suck carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere and bury it (direct air capture). 
  • Carbon sequestration: Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change. 
  • Greenhouse gases: Gases that contribute to the atmosphere’s greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation. These include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. In the context of aviation, the net effect of greenhouse gases is a warming effect on the earth’s climate.
  • Scope 1 emissions: Scope 1 includes all emissions generated as part of the operation of Delta's air transportation business: jet fuel from Delta mainline, Endeavor Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, plus emissions from ground support equipment and other group operations, chemical use, etc. This does not include the Monroe Refinery.
  • Scope 2 emissions: Scope 2 includes emissions that result from the generation of electricity, heat or steam purchased by Delta in both owned and leased facilities, such as airport spaces.
  • Scope 3 emissions: At this time, our Scope 3 emissions include all jet fuel from Delta Connection carriers that we do not wholly own. It does not include airlines in which we participate in a joint venture.  It also does not include our supply chain emissions (emissions generated by our vendors). We are in the process of getting our arms around calculating those emissions.
  • Sustainable aviation fuel: An alternative to fossil fuel, sustainable aviation fuel can reduce emissions by up to 80 percent during its full lifecycle. Examples include bio-fuels and synthetic fuels. Some definitions of sustainable aviation fuel do not include synthetic fuels.
  • Zero-impact aviation: It is an ambitious goal that would result in air travel that does not damage the environment directly or indirectly via greenhouse gas emissions, noise, waste generation or other impacts. 


Note: Delta has been publishing annual Corporate Responsibility Reports (CRRs) since 2009. To request a CRR prior to 2018, please contact