Sustainability

Our Flight to Net ZeroSM


Delta’s commitment to sustainability is about joining arms to create a better world as the industry works to reach its sustainability goals.

The global aviation industry is a hard-to-abate sector, meaning it is innately difficult to decarbonize. We expect our path toward achievement of this ambitious climate goal to include fleet, sustainable aviation fuel, operational improvements and offsets. Technological innovation, partnerships and coalitions will be required to help us achieve this goal. 

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. In 2020, we 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.

Alternative Fuels, Sustainable Future

Delta’s 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.

Commitment to Transparency


Environmental, Social, and Governance Efforts
Delta’s 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report offers the latest data and insight into the company’s efforts to advance its purpose of connecting people with opportunity while expanding the understanding of the planet and with the people within it.
CLIMATE ADVOCACY ACTIVITIES

Delta's Climate Lobbying Report details the company’s global advocacy activities and policy engagements—both direct and indirect—that support and complement our Paris Agreement-aligned climate goals.  Effective policy engagement will continue to shape how Delta advances progress towards our climate goals and a more sustainable future for flight.  

View Climate Lobbying Report, opens in a new window

Improving Our Environment by Reducing Our Impact


Delta is accelerating its efforts to build a more sustainable and people-first future. Now in Delta One®, you will find artisan-made amenity kits from Certified B Corporation apparel brand Someone Somewhere, opens in a new window. These handcrafted kits will eliminate five single-use plastic items such as zippers and packaging, reducing plastic use by up to 90,000 pounds on an annual basis.

Other enhancements to our onboard offerings include bedding made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, reusable and biodegradable service ware and premium canned wine. Together, the products will reduce onboard single-use plastic consumption by approximately 4.9 million pounds per year – that’s roughly the weight of 1,500 standard-sized cars – and significantly increase Delta’s support of minority- and women-run businesses. Learn more here.

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.

MAKING THE MOST OF RECYCLABLE MATERIALS

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

PARTNERSHIPS

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

ON-THE-GROUND DONATIONS

In 2021, we diverted 1.9M pounds of food, blankets, amenity kits and other provisioning items to various organizations in need, equaling ~$7M worth of items.

ZERO-WASTE SKY CLUBS

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


Delta’s journey toward its sustainability goals will require collaboration and partnerships. Hear from three Delta leaders about why this journey matters, what we’re doing now and where we’re headed. 

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-leaders-reflect-accelerating-airlines-sustainability-goals

Earth Day is the global moment for the world to reflect on how we can all act more responsibly and innovate toward a more sustainable future. At Delta, however, that isn’t something we do on just one day – it’s a mindset that informs every decision we make.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/earth-month-how-delta-doing-our-part-sustainable-future

This partnership significantly increases Delta’s access to sustainable aviation fuel while expanding the alternative fuel market. Sustainable aviation fuel is produced from bio feedstocks that can reduce greenhouse gas lifecycle emissions significantly compared to conventional jet fuel.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/deltas-deal-gevo-pushes-saf-goal-forward

Hydrogen power has great potential to speed air travel toward net zero carbon emissions, a future that could be accelerated thanks to a new agreement between Delta and Airbus. As part of its Flight to Net ZeroSM plan to scale and advance sustainable technologies, Delta has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become the first U.S.-based airline to collaborate with Airbus on the research and development of hydrogen-powered aircraft and the ecosystem required to make the transition.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/decarbonized-future-flight-delta-and-airbus-collaborate-pull-forward-future-hydrogen-fuel

Delta is the first U.S. airline to partner with EcoVadis, a provider of business sustainability ratings. This partnership marks Delta’s latest step in integrating its environmental, social and governance goals across its entire business strategy.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-announces-new-program-build-more-resilient-transparent-and-effective-supply-chain

Delta Air Lines is driving forward a new chapter of sustainable aviation by investing through its pension plans in TPG Rise Climate, a multibillion-dollar impact investing fund focused on supporting climate solutions at scale.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-invests-tpg-rise-climate-accelerate-innovative-climate-solutions

The report details the company’s global advocacy activities and policy engagements — both direct and indirect — that support and complement its Paris Agreement-aligned climate goals.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-air-lines-releases-climate-lobbying-report

This year will be full of opportunities to reconnect and get back to what we all love most. 2022 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for our world, and that includes Delta and you.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/message-skymiles-members-ceo-ed-bastian-innovating-travels-future

Delta will welcome a Chief Sustainability Officer in 2022, continuing its commitment to build a sustainable future for air travel. Pamela Fletcher will join Delta as Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer and will join the Delta Leadership Committee as the airline industry’s only C-Suite level CSO, CEO Ed Bastian said in a letter to employees.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-welcome-chief-sustainability-officer

The coalition is spearheaded by the U.S. State Department and the World Economic Forum and reflects Delta’s leadership as the world’s first carbon neutral airline.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-joins-first-movers-coalition-drive-breakthrough-technologies-and-sustainable-fuels

To drive forward a new chapter for aviation, Delta is joining the Aviation Climate Taskforce (ACT) – a new nonprofit founded to tackle eliminating carbon dioxide emissions in aviation.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-invests-net-zero-aviation-through-aviation-climate-taskforce

Our commitment to carbon neutrality is rooted in the idea that our customers shouldn’t have to choose between seeing the world and saving the world.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/update-our-path-net-zero

Delta takes the stage during Global Citizen Live on Sept. 25 to share our carbon-neutral message and describe our science-based efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in partnership with the Science Based Target Initiative.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-details-climate-change-fight-global-citizen

Delta is on a journey to decarbonize our industry – our Flight to Net Zero – but it’s not a task that happens overnight. It’s a decades-long process requiring collaboration across our business and with other industries.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-joins-coalitions-driving-net-zero-future

Delta’s new brand campaign builds on the commitment first announced in March 2020 to be the first carbon-neutral airline globally.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/new-campaign-shines-light-deltas-carbon-neutrality

Delta has signed a commitment letter to work with the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) to set a science-based emissions intensity improvement target using the organization’s recently released criteria and guidance for the aviation sector.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-commits-set-science-based-target-align-paris-agreement

The companies hope to create a common, more transparent model for analyzing potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions that could then be adopted by organizations considering SAF programs.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/chevron-delta-air-lines-and-google-announce-intent-measure-sustainable-aviation-fuel-emissions-data

This partnership is the first multi-year SAF commitment for Delta and builds on the growing list of travel management companies and corporate partners that share in Delta’s commitment to bolster the future of sustainable air travel.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-signs-first-multi-year-saf-agreement-ctm-reaches-collective-purchase-300000-gallons-corporate

Flight to Net Zero encompasses Delta’s climate leadership through its carbon neutrality goal.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-launches-flight-net-zero-signs-partnership-cwt

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: https://news.delta.com/deltas-esg-report-powering-purpose-driven-goals-be-catalyst-change

The agreement is part of the airline’s longstanding commitment to work with customers to reach collective goals for the greater good of our planet.

Read More: https://news.delta.com/delta-and-bcd-travel-sign-industry-first-global-travel-management-sustainable-fuel-agreement

 

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. 

Reports


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

Policies


Statements on this webpage that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our expectations and goals, should be considered “forward-looking statements” under the federal securities laws and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations and goals. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements except to the extent required by law.