Delta Aims to Take the Lead in Sustainability

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Delta recently announced their commitment to sustainability as a “business imperative”. This sustainable business model includes strategies to reduce the climate impact of flying, as well as changes across all operations within the company. In doing so, Delta is seeking to lead the way for other companies to follow suit and make their own, or reaffirm their commitments to sustainability.

Eliminating Climate Impact from Flying

Delta is aiming for net-zero emissions and a more sustainable travel experience by 2050. To achieve this goal, they are utilizing different strategies such as offsetting carbon emissions through investments in renewable energy projects and SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel). They have already committed $1 billion to fuel-saving technology, and other initiatives which will benefit Delta, the environment, and consumers alike. Examples include an advanced flight planning system that optimizes routes taken by aircrafts to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions as well as a partnership with Airbus to develop the world’s first hydrogen-powered airplane.

Fuel Initiatives

As of 20222030 2035 2050 
Committed to 200M gallons of SAF offtakes; approximately 50 corporate customer SAF agreements signed10% SAF usage by end of 203035% SAF usage 95+% SAF

Fleet Improvements

As of 20222025 2035 2050 
Partnership with Airbus ZEROe to explore hydrogen propulsion10+% fuel efficiency gains;5 partnerships with revolutionary tech players 20+% fuel efficiency gains;First operation of mainline revolutionary tech40+% fuel efficiency gains;25% of fleet made up of revolutionary aircraft
†Compared to 2019

Embedding Sustainability in Operations

As part of their commitment to sustainability, Delta Chief Sustainability Officer Pam Fletcher will oversee a series of initiatives across company operations. Three major areas of focus are ground operations, the supply chain, and the travel experience. These initiatives include the implementation of new technologies such as electric ground equipment, eliminating plastics in on-board service, and building LEED certified passenger facilities. Additionally, Delta will be encouraging all their vendors, throughout their supply chain, to implement their own net-zero plans.

As of 20222025 2035 2050 
Eliminated 4.9M pounds of single-use plasticsMinimize single-use plastics onboard65% waste diversion from landfill*100% waste diversion from landfill*
*Relating to our customer onboard and in-airport travel experience; other airline operations (e.g., maintenance) are excluded.
As of 20222025 2030 2050 
50+% of largest vendors in EcoVadis100% of preferred vendors on carbon tracking system100% of preferred vendors w/ net-zero plans100% net-zero supply chain

“Delta people are known for doing difficult things well. As we reshape the fundamentals of aviation, we are as dedicated to making immediate progress as we are to investing wisely in disruptive solutions.”

Pam Fletcher, Delta CSO, in an email to all employees on Feb. 28.

By focusing on reducing climate impact from flying, investing in fuel-saving technologies, employing a Chief Sustainability Officer, and making changes across all operations within the company—Delta has become an example for other businesses on how successful sustainable business models can be implemented. Delta Airlines’ commitment to making sustainability a “business imperative” is commendable. And we, at Miles Junkie, look forward to future updates on their progress — because travel could be even better knowing that the negative impact it has on the environment is reduced or eventually eliminated. You can get more information on Delta’s “Path to Sustainability” website.

Editorial Note: Information and opinions articulated in this article are solely those of the author’s, not those of a credit card company, bank, airline or hotel chain. This article has not been reviewed or approved by or otherwise endorsed by any of these companies or organizations.

Miles Junkie covers airline miles, hotel points and credit card earning program information and travel in general with an eye towards ethical & eco-conscious exploration.

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