Earth Month: How Delta is doing our part for a sustainable future
Earth Day is the global moment for the world to reflect on how we can all act more responsibly and innovate toward a more sustainable future. At Delta, however, that isn’t something we do on just one day – it’s a mindset.
You shouldn’t have to choose between seeing the world and saving the world. That’s why we’ve invested in small steps – like reducing waste and single-use plastics on our flights – and bigger commitments like our partnerships with Gevo and Airbus.
“A sustainable future starts with a more sustainable mindset,” said Pam Fletcher, Delta's Chief Sustainability Officer. “It means that every decision should consider the impact on our planet.”
AN ECO-FOCUSED IN-FLIGHT EXPERIENCE
Starting in April, we’ve partnered with global conservationist and animal behavior expert Dr. Jane Goodall to curate a new “Top Picks” collection on Delta Studio that pays tribute to our shared home and its many natural wonders.
The collection celebrates the wonder and beauty of planet Earth with wildlife and environmentally inspired stories like “Jane Goodall: The Hope,” “Planet Earth II,” “Finding Nemo” and “Before the Floods.”
If you’re flying on select routes 900 miles or more in Delta One and First Class cabins, you can also enjoy a new standard of plant-based meals with unique new dishes featuring products from Impossible Foods, Black Sheep Foods and locally grown vegetables.
In 2018, we removed many single-use plastic items on board, including stir sticks, service ware wrappers and straws. That effort has continued with this year’s introduction of bamboo cutlery for First Class packaged meals and on select international flights. Later this year, all international Main Cabin customers will also see new dishware made from biodegradable material, bamboo cutlery and a premium paper placemat. These transitions will reduce annual plastic use by up to 4.3 million pounds.
To complement any meal or snack, Delta will now serve two new aluminum-canned wines from Imagery Estate Winery, a premium Sonoma winery led by award-winning winemaker Jamie Benziger. In 2019, Benziger was named Best Winemaker at the International Women’s Wine Competition and named to Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 list.
Delta will offer Imagery’s cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay onboard starting with select coast-to-coast flights this month and will expand to all domestic flights later this year. The wine’s aluminum packaging reduces annual plastic use by up to 250,000 pounds. Imagery’s wines are also sustainably grown, as certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Delta One customers can also enjoy the new amenity kits created by artisans from Someone Somewhere, a Certified B Corporation that combines traditional handcrafts with innovative products, preserving artisan traditions. The kits will help reduce Delta’s annual plastic use by up to 90,000 pounds by eliminating five single-use plastic items such as zippers and packaging.
Additionally, the soft, comfortable and premium bedding sets for Delta One customers are now made with more than 100 recycled plastic bottles apiece, totaling 25 million recycled bottles annually. The airline is among the first to use 100% recycled polyester (rPET) bedding and – combined with the new reusable bedding packaging – will reduce single-use plastic use by up to 260,000 pounds per year.
A MORE FUEL-EFFICIENT FLEET
Delta expects to welcome 26 state-of-the-art A321neos to its fleet this year, with a total of 155 purchase commitments through 2027. Powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines, the A321neo offers 20% better fuel efficiency over Delta’s current A321ceos.
We’re also making strides toward our goal of fueling 10% of our operation with sustainable aviation fuel by the end of 2030, signing an agreement with SAF maker Gevo that significantly expands the availability of this alternative fuel. Through the agreement, Delta expects to receive roughly 75 million gallons of SAF annually for seven years, anticipated to start mid-2026.
Looking beyond conventional aviation, we’ve also reached a deal to collaborate with Airbus on industry-leading research to accelerate the development of a hydrogen-powered aircraft and the ecosystem it requires.
Among Delta’s sustainability-focused partnerships is our investment through Delta's pension plan in TPG Rise Climate, a multibillion-dollar impact investing fund focused on supporting climate solutions at scale. The fund was launched in 2021 by the global alternative asset manager, TPG. TPG Rise Climate targets sustainable solutions in clean energy, decarbonized transport, greening industries and agriculture & natural solutions.
Late last year, Delta also joined two important coalitions. The First Movers Coalition is a public-private partnership and platform designed to accelerate and scale the development of breakthrough technologies and fuels, helping hard-to-abate sectors, like aviation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Aviation Climate Taskforce is a new nonprofit organization founded to tackle the challenge of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions in aviation, with the goal to accelerate breakthroughs in emerging decarbonization technologies by 10 years or more.
Our employees are also driving sustainable actions in the communities where they live, work and serve through 16 volunteer events across the U.S. with our environmental partners like Jane Goodall Institute, Trees Atlanta, Speak for the Trees, Reforest India and the Captain Planet Foundation.
To learn more about Delta's ongoing efforts toward a more sustainable future, visit the Sustainability section of Delta News Hub.