At United, we're committed to working together with our employees and partners – including customers, airport employees, business partners, suppliers, governments and non-governmental organizations – to protect the environment.
Working with our employees and communities
We have a comprehensive network of staff dedicated to addressing environmental compliance and sustainability issues, from our corporate Environmental Affairs department to Eco-Teams at our hubs and facilities and Environmental Coordinators at airports throughout the world. Our employees play an important role in making our environmental commitment a reality through the work they do every day.
The United Eco-Skies program empowers our employees to make a positive environmental impact in the communities we serve. Since 2012, the program has awarded over $250,000 in grants to non-profit organizations that United employees volunteer with in our hub communities. Projects have included tree plantings, horticulture classes and urban beautification.
Engaging with the industry
United partners with municipal, state, federal and international governments to ensure aviation policies are sustainable from an economic, environmental and social perspective. Key initiatives, such as developing commercially successful biofuels and modernizing air-traffic-control infrastructure, hinge on significant government investment. United advocates at the federal, state and local levels for appropriate government environmental policies, investments and leadership. In addition, we participate with Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to advance aviation-specific efforts on climate change.
Awarding clean-energy innovators
United Eco-Skies, along with co-sponsor Boeing, awarded the start-up Nexmatix with the 2016 United and Boeing Sustainable Energy Award, given to businesses that help advance energy efficiency sustainability in aviation or ground operations, at the sixth-annual Clean Energy Trust Challenge in Chicago in 2016. The Clean Energy Trust Challenge is nationally recognized for helping innovators become successful companies to support a clean energy economy. United Eco-Skies has supported the Clean Energy Trust and the Clean Energy Trust Challenge since 2012.
Recycling our onboard amenity kits
In 2016, United began partnering with Clean the World, an innovative nonprofit organization that recycles partially used soap, shampoo and other hygiene products that would normally be thrown away by the hospitality industry. Clean the World will collect unused United amenity kits and refurbish the products into new hygiene kits, which United will assemble and distribute to those in need. The kits will help prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year and reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, while also eliminating environmental waste.
Flying researchers for wildlife conservation
United Eco-Skies flies research scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to study native habitats in China's Qinling and Minshan Mountain regions. The scientists are studying several new protected areas, including GuanYinShan Nature Reserve, where pandas have started to return after years of logging and human activity drove them from the area. Visit the Smithsonian's Conservation Efforts page to learn more about their work.
Travel sustainably and share your experiences
United Eco-Skies is a proud sponsor of the Smithsonian Magazine Sustainable Travel annual photo contest, encouraging our customers to keep the environment in mind when they travel. To enter this year's photo contest, visit the Smithsonian's Sustainable Travel page.
Combating illegal trade in wildlife
United is working with the aviation industry to support the work of enforcement agencies that combat the illegal wildlife trade. For more information, and to ensure that you are following the law when traveling with wildlife or wildlife products in your luggage or shipping them through our cargo services, visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Travel and Trade and How You Can Help pages.
Our partners in sustainability
United has long-standing relationships with a number of non-profit and corporate partners. Several of them are highlighted below: