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United offers customers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets that will reduce the carbon footprint associated with their air travel. We also provide a similar program for our corporate customers, offering the purchase of carbon offsets to help reduce carbon emissions associated with cargo shipments. The carbon offsets are provided through our partnership with Sustainable Travel International (STI) and allow you to support projects designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide social and economic benefits to some of the communities that United serves. Learn more about calculating your carbon offsets
How the program works
After you've calculated the carbon footprint of your travel, you will have the option to donate to one of several high-impact carbon reduction projects offered by STI. Your contribution will be invested in the designated project through the purchase of carbon offsets, or units representing a certain amount of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Your contribution can be made in the form of money or miles.
How you can use your miles to offset your flight
Starting this April, United became the first U.S. airline to offer frequent fliers a chance to use miles to purchase offsets to cover the carbon emissions associated with their flights. As part of United’s new mileage offset redemption program, frequent fliers can reduce the carbon footprint of their travel by redeeming miles for offsets, which support programs such as forest conservation in Northern California and Peru and renewable energy in Texas. Your purchase of offsets helps fund and support the certified offset projects below. Use miles to purchase carbon offsets
United recently launched a new program called Carbon Choice that provides our corporate cargo customers with the ability to track and offset the emissions associated with their freight shipments on United. This program not only provides customized emissions reports to cargo customers, but also gives them the option to easily offset these emissions through the airline’s global offset partner, Sustainable Travel International. If you are interested in this service, please contact your local sales manager directly or contact us via email. Cargo customers can also offset the carbon emissions for a specific shipment with our easy CO2 calculator.
Our carbon reduction projects include:
Forest conservation in California:
Your support of the Garcia River Forest Project helps to conserve forestland, restore wildlife habitat and protect local forestry jobs in the heart of California’s Redwood region. Preservation of this forest land allows for the prevention of 77,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and is an independently verified carbon offset project registered with the Climate Action Reserve.
Renewable energy in Texas:
Your support of the Capricorn Ridge Wind project helps to displace fossil fuel-based energy production with clean, renewable wind power. This project produces enough wind-based electricity to power approximately 220,000 homes annually and is an independently verified carbon offset project registered with the Verified Carbon Standard.
Community-based forest conservation in Peru:
Your support for Conservation International's Alto Mayo Forest Carbon Project in Northern Peru helps to protect a critical watershed for more than 240,000 people and many threatened species found nowhere else on Earth. The project also provides jobs for local families and incentivizes new approaches to farming that support rather than undermine native forests. This project is an independently verified REDD+ carbon offset project registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
Carbon offset program FAQs
- What is carbon offsetting and how can I offset my emissions?
Carbon offsetting is a process designed to alleviate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions that result from the use of fossil fuels by reducing emissions from another source. Through this process, United customers now have the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their travel by making tax-deductible charitable contributions to a variety of independently reviewed and certified environmental projects focused on forest conservation, renewable energy and avoided deforestation.
After you book your flight, you will be given the option to calculate your emissions and offset your carbon, or you can simply visit our carbon offset website and enter either your itinerary information or a dollar amount that you’d like to contribute.
- How do you calculate the CO2 emissions?
The calculations we use are based on actual fuel consumption of the United Airlines fleet. Calculations are based on a comprehensive carbon footprint of our flight operations, specific to routes, planes utilized, load factors, assumed passenger weight and actual fuel use. The carbon calculator only assigns the emissions associated with individual passenger travel and does not include other emissions generated by cargo transport, crew travel, etc.
Calculations represent the CO2 emitted during fuel combustion and do not account for upstream CO2 emissions from fuel production, refinement and transportation by oil companies. While upstream emissions are difficult to measure precisely, some estimates suggest that they account for approximately 16% of a fuel’s total life cycle CO2 emissions.
- What is a metric ton(ne)?
- A tonne (t) or metric ton (M/T), also referred to as a metric tonne, is a measurement of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms. 1 tonne = 1.102 U.S. tons, or 2,204 pounds.
- Why did United choose to work with Sustainable Travel International?
- We reviewed a wide range of carbon offset providers. Sustainable Travel International was the standout because of its international focus, excellence of mission and high standards, which make the organization a good fit for United and our customers. We also value Sustainable Travel International's policy of only selecting carbon offset projects that have obtained independent third-party verification and are registered with long-standing and well-respected carbon quantification protocols. Learn more about Sustainable Travel International