United Airlines

InfluenceMap Score
D
Performance Band
55%
Organisation Score
35%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Transportation
Head​quarters:
Chicago, United States
Official Web Site:
Wikipedia:

Climate Lobbying Overview: United Airlines appears to have mixed engagement on climate policies. United has expressed top-line support for the Paris Agreement and supported a US blenders tax credit for sustainable aviation fuels, however the organization has also opposed an EU SAF mandate, an EU fuel tax and national ticket taxes. United remains a member of multiple industry associations opposing climate legislation.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: In December 2020, United communicated broad support for increased GHG emissions reductions, urging the aviation industry to be “bolder” than relying on offsetting measures. Additionally, in a November 2021 interview with CNBC, CEO Scott Kirby stated “we’re going to have to get the world to net-zero”. United also stated their support for the US re-entering the Paris Agreement in a January 2021 Twitter post. Evidence from their corporate webpage suggest United support government regulation to respond to climate change, however, in their 2021 CDP response United appears to use their support for the global CORSIA offsetting scheme for aviation to oppose more stringent regional/national climate policies.

Engagement with Climate Related Regulations: United appear to have limited engagement with climate policies in 2020-21, engaging predominantly with policies promoting sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). For example, in a May 2021 press release from Congressman Schneider, CEO Scott Kirby, described the Sustainable Skies Act, which included a proposed US blenders tax credit for SAF, as a “critical step”. United also signed a joint letter to US policymakers in April 2021, urging the introduction of an SAF-specific blenders tax credit. In August 2021, they signed another joint letter to policymakers, again advocating for a refundable SAF blenders tax credit for SAFs achieving at least 50% lifecycle GHG emissions reductions. CEO Scott Kirby also asked administration officials to support incentives for SAF, according to a February 2021 Associated Press report. United also offer a platform on their website enabling customers to ask policymakers to enact legislation supporting the development of low-carbon fuels. Contrastingly, United’s submission to the 2020 EU consultation on ReFuelEU Aviation suggests United are unsupportive of an EU SAF mandate, arguing it would be “counterproductive” and may “undermine SAF’s long-term commercial viability”. United further appeared to advocate for the inclusion of aviation fuel in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, according to their 2021 CDP response.

Position on Energy Transition: United appear to have negative engagement with the energy transition for aviation. For example, in a 2020 response to an EU consultation on the Energy Tax Directive, United stated opposition to a proposed EU fuel tax, questioning the legality of the proposal. United also appear opposed to national ticket taxes, arguing such taxes “undermine CORSIA” and “do not provide environmental benefits”. United’s corporate webpage also suggests they strongly support the increased use of SAF within aviation, however, it remains unclear if this position is aligned with IPCC recommendations. In a January 2021 Twitter post, United described SAF as “the fastest and most effective way” to reduce aviation emissions. CEO Scott Kirby was also reported to have praised those recognizing the need to support SAF-powered flying, in a Houston Business Journal report in April 2021. Regarding hydrogen-electric aircraft, in a December 2021 newsletter CEO Scott Kirby stated “hydrogen-electric engines are one of the most promising paths…for smaller aircrafts”. Scott Kirby also stated in a December 2021 report by WBEZ Chicago, “we are not going to be flying big airplanes long distances with batteries…we’re going to be needing jet fuel to fly”.

Industry Association Governance: United has publicly disclosed their memberships to Airlines for America A4A and International Air Transport Association (IATA) on their corporate webpage, and have provided some further details on their alignment in their 2021 CDP response. United have not disclosed that CEO Scott Kirby is on the board of both A4A and IATA, and Terri Fariello, a Senior Executive, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, all of which are actively lobbying against ambitious climate policy. United CEO, Scott Kirby, is also a member of the Business Roundtable.

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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
28%
 
28%
 
41%
 
41%
 
38%
 
38%
 
23%
 
23%
 
52%
 
52%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.