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US airline Delta commits $1 billion to become carbon neutral

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Delta Air Lines has announced it will commit $1 billion (€0.9 billion) over the next decade to mitigate all emissions from its operations around the world.

The airline plans to invest in driving innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies – such as the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and setting up 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,” said CEO Ed Bastian, announcing the news. “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 time is now to accelerate our investments and establish an ambitious commitment that the entire Delta team will deliver.

“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.

“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.”

The aviation industry currently accounts for around 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Delta’s carbon footprint is its largest environmental impact, with 98% of emissions coming from its aircraft. As a result, the company intends to focus its efforts in three key areas to become carbon neutral.

Carbon reduction

Reducing Delta’s carbon footprint through enterprise-wide efforts to decrease the use of jet fuel and increase efficiency. Areas of focus include an ambitious fleet renewal programme, improved flight operations, weight reduction, and increased development and use of SAF.

Carbon removal

Investing in innovative projects and technology to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere, and investigating carbon removal opportunities 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, industry colleagues, investors and other stakeholders to advance carbon reduction and removal goals and maximise the airline’s global impact.

“When customers choose to fly Delta, they should feel they’re making a statement about taking care of our planet,” Bastian continued. “Our commitment to carbon neutrality means flying with Delta represents far more than a great travel experience – it’s about joining arms to create a better world.”

As part of its commitment to achieve more sustainable air travel, Delta has partnered with industry to advance the development and production of sustainable aviation fuels, which includes recent partnership and offtake agreements with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels and Gevo.