Anyone can do pralines and flowers and declare their eternal love on Valentine’s Day. Only few can pledge billions of dollars to two areas they hold near and dear, and yet Delta has done just this.
Not only did Delta pay out $1.6 billion in profit sharing to its 90,000 employees this Valentine's Day, but it also issued a press release wherein, starting 01MAR20, it commits $1 billion over
the next 10 years to becoming the first, globally carbon neutral airline in an aviation industry accounting for around 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Delta plans to 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. It has set itself a number of milestones already for 2020, so we can expect to hear much more as the year progresses and these initiatives are launched.
"There's no challenge we face that is in greater need of innovation than environmental sustainability, and we know there is no single solution. We are digging deep into the issues, examining
every corner of our business, engaging experts, building coalitions, fostering partnerships, and driving innovation,” Delta CEO, Ed Bastian declared. "We are on a journey, and 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.”
A carbon neutral strategy worth copying
Delta puts its money where its mouth is and can proudly look back on its status as being the first and only U.S. airline to voluntarily cap greenhouse gas emissions at 2012 levels. Last year, it actively worked to renew its fleet by adding over 80 new aircraft, all operating with 25% better fuel efficiency than their replacements. Given that Delta's carbon footprint is its largest environmental impact, with 98% of emissions coming from its aircraft, in addition to upgrading its fleet, it is also working together with companies such as Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels and Gevo on furthering the development and production of sustainable aviation fuels.
Yet, Delta’s carbon strategy covers all areas of its business, not just in the air, and it is developing carbon neutral projects looking at:
- Carbon reduction: global efforts to decrease the use of jet fuel and increase efficiency, by, for example, fleet renewals, improved flight operations, weight reduction, increased development and use of sustainable aviation fuels.
- Carbon removal: investing further in innovative projects and technology to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere, and examining carbon removal opportunities through forestry, wetland restoration, grassland conservation, marine and soil capture, and other negative emissions technologies.
- Stakeholder engagement: working together with its employees, suppliers, global partners, customers, industry colleagues, investors and other stakeholders on maximizing its carbon neutral impact.
What are your company’s sustainability principles?
The airline has published “The Delta Environmental Sustainability Principles” to get everyone on board in achieving carbon neutrality and overall sustainability. They are:
- Action - Make progress continually by leveraging the tools of today even as we work to drive progress on a global scale. Embed environmental impact as a consideration in every business decision.
- Innovation - Investigate, enable, and advance new projects, innovative technologies and operational efficiencies to substantially reduce and mitigate emissions and our overall environmental footprint.
- Collaboration - Engage with employees, suppliers, global partners, customers, investors, and other stakeholders with the understanding that environmental protection must be a shared goal.
- Evolution - Be nimble in evolving and adjusting in response to the latest scientific findings and technological developments.
- Transparency - Continue to publicly report on our goals and progress, aligned with leading disclosure frameworks and standards, and track efforts and achievements through our robust governance structure.
With a share of almost 15% of the world’s carbon emissions, the United States is the world’s second largest emitter (behind China, 27.5%, and followed by India, 7.2%), and with a current President hell-bent on bringing hell back with his promise back in MAR17 that “We're going to have clean coal, really clean coal,” when he actively pulled out of the Paris Climate Treaty, putting economics before environmental issues, it is literally a breath of fresh air that at least one U.S. company is serious about reducing its negative environmental impact, and was recently the top airline named by Barron’s list of America's Most Sustainable Companies in 2020.
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