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United Airlines launches Carbon Offset Program

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United Airlines has launched a carbon offset program designed to give customers the opportunity to help protect the environment by supporting renewable energy and reforestation projects.

Along with Conservation International and in partnership with Sustainable Travel International (STI), United has developed a carbon calculator that determines a customer’s carbon footprint for air travel based on actual United routes, planes utilized, load factors, and fuel usage.

Customers wanting to participate and offset their emissions may visit United's website, to calculate the carbon footprint specific to their travels and make a tax-deductible donation to support one of four independently reviewed and verified offset portfolios offered by STI. An offset for travel from Tampa Bay to Chicago, for example, may be available for a contribution as low as $2.05.

The portfolio of projects offered through United’s carbon offset program with STI support domestic and international renewable energy sources such as wind farms, while international forest preservation projects focus on restoring native forests and reducing the threat of forest burning or clearing while conserving wildlife and natural ecosystems. The Gold Standard option generates carbon credits for international, long-term sustainable development programs in renewable energy and energy efficiency, while the fourth option, the United portfolio, enables customers to invest in a combination of the three categories.

“Protecting the environment is important to United and an issue that we know is important to our customers,” said Rosemary Moore, senior vice president – Corporate and Government Affairs for United Airlines. “With our new carbon offset program we are pleased to join our non-profit partners to give our customers the opportunity to support quality programs which have a positive impact on our environment."

United’s other environmental initiatives include fleet enhancements, an EcoPower engine wash system, and alternative fuel vehicles in United’s ground support equipment. United was the only U.S. carrier to participate in last year’s environmental program ASPIRE, using 11 fuel-savings initiatives in a single flight to save more than 32,000 pounds of carbon emissions. United also trains flight crews in key fuel conservation principles and in the implementation of a more efficient flight planning management process.

“Climate Change is the challenge facing our generation. Together we can take real actions that will collectively benefit our planet and humanity,” said Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. “Through the leadership of United and this new program, travelers can counter the environmental impact of their travels by supporting sustainable projects such as our international reforestation efforts.”

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