Delta Air Lines recently announced an initiative to become the first carbon neutral airline – an effort that includes a 10-year commitment and $1 billion investment.
 
Delta calls it a “journey to mitigate all emissions from its global business going forward,” and it will start March 1. The airline says it will work to advance clean air travel technologies, accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and more.
 
“There is no substitute for the power that travel has to connect people, which our world needs today more than ever before,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a company release. “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.”
 
Delta states that approximately 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions come from the aviation industry and 98 percent of the company’s emissions come from its airplanes. With this in mind, Delta has highlighted three areas of focus in order to become carbon neutral.
 
Carbon reduction – Delta will work to decrease the use of jet fuel and increase efficiency. This includes a “fleet renewal program, improved flight operations, weight reduction, and increased development and use of sustainable aviation fuels.”
 
Carbon removal – The company will invest in efforts that remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere and investigate carbon removal opportunities through a variety of methods.
 
Stakeholder engagement – Delta says it will build partnerships with employees, suppliers, customers, investors, and more to advance carbon reduction and removal.
 
“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,” Bastian added. “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.”
 
Delta’s announcement follows other corporate social responsibility initiatives from different brands across industries, although one is in the same arena. JetBlue recently announced it will offset carbon dioxide emission from jet fuel for all domestic flights beginning in July 2020.
 
Last year Hasbro said that beginning this year it plans to begin phasing out plastic from new product packaging. The company’s ambition is to eliminate virtually all plastic in packaging for new products by the end of 2022. Fiji Water announced in October 2019 a multifaceted initiative to transform its use of plastic, with a plan highlighted by an aggressive timetable to make all plastic bottles from 100 percent recycled plastic (rPET) by 2025.
 
All of these efforts come with a noticeable shift in customer expectations and desires surrounding corporate social responsibility. “In recent years, consumers have shown more concern for social justice causes. They are worried about climate change and sustainability,” Loyalty360’s Executive Perspectives report on Corporate Social Responsibility states. “Additionally, millennials are more likely than other age groups to care about corporate social responsibility.”
 
With a continued focus on working to become a carbon neutral airline, Delta looks to be showing its customers the brand shares their concerns regarding environmental sustainability – and it’s doing something about it.
 
 
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