Daily Management Review

Delta Wants To Be First Carbon Neutral Airline, Will Invest $1bn


United States based Delta Airlines plans to become the first US airline to become completely carbon neutral over the next 10 years. The company has set a budget of $1bn to mitigate all of its carbon emissions from its global business over that period.
The United Nations has predicted that the total carbon emissions from global airlines will triple by 2050 and therefore airlines all across the world are under pressure to reduce emissions. Analysts say that this measure by the Delta will now increase pressure on other airlines to also take up similar measures and ambitions.
A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation has sown that there has been a 32 per cent increase in the total carbon dioxide emitted by airlines between 2013 and 2018. Research has also confirmed that more carbon dioxide is emitted from long-haul flights than is generated by the total annual carbon emission generated by an average person in dozens of countries around the world.
“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,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive.
A number of measures have been highlighted by Delta to achieve this ambitious aim.
One of the ways would be to reduce the use of jet fuel and increasing efficiency to reduce its overall carbon footprint. Delta also plans to make large investments in carbon removal programs in forestry, wetland restoration, grassland conservation, marine and soil capture as well as in other technologies that emit negative emissions to reduce the net carbon dioxide generated from its operations. The company also plans to reduce its overall carbon footprint by helping to reduce carbon emissions of employees, suppliers, global partners, customers, industry colleagues, investors and other stakeholders by working closely with them.
In recent times, there have been other major companies in other polluting carbon industries that have announced plans to become carbon neutral. For example, the energy company BP announced earlier this week about its plans to bring down its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050.
Delta announcing investments to reduce its carbon footprint is encouraging, said Peter Miller, director of the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He however said that for a large company airline as Delta, currently there are few low-carbon options available in the market.
“It will be critical that the offsets they purchase are credible and real,” he said. “And that is certainly possible. It’s a whole lot better than doing nothing.”