Delta Airlines






1030 Delta Boulevard
Atlanta, GA 30354-6001
Tel: (404) 715-2600



  • #55 Best Employers for Veterans 2020
  • #45 World’s Best Employers 2020
  • #97 Just Companies 2021
  • #48 Best Employers for New Grads 2020
  • America’s Best Employers By State 2020
  • #263 Global 2000 2020
  • #96 Best Employers for Diversity 2020
  • #155 America’s Best Employers 2019 
  • #77 America’s Largest Public Companies 2018 
  • Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2020 
  • Best Long-Haul Airline at the 25th annual
  • TPG 2020 Best Airlines Report 
  • Fortune Top 50 Most Admired Companies 




Gareth Joyce


  • Nomi Network  2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Award
  • Thomson Reuters Foundation Stop Slavery Award
  • KAYAK 2020 Travel Award
  • FlightGlobal, Airline Business and Korn Ferry Decade of Airline Excellence Award



Report created by Ajith Thangavelautham

Delta Air Lines

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Delta Air Lines is one of the world’s largest airlines, catering to about 300 destinations in 50 countries. Serving around 200 million travelers, Delta operates circa 800 aircraft with maintenance, repair, overhaul, and cargo operations.

The airline segment accounts for 90%, catering to the general public with more than 15,000 daily flights. Their refinery segment at 10% focuses on providing fuel by producing it themselves and receiving it through contracts.

Overall, the past few years have been very efficient and financially strong for Delta Air Lines but with 2020 came Covid-19 that has undoubtedly shocked many sectors and left a profound impact on airlines. With society instructed to self-isolate, the demand for travel is at an all-time low and as a result Delta’s business has taken a big hit. From here on they recognize the priority is to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees.

The company has reduced flying capacity by more than 70%, anticipating a 2B drop in revenue, losing over 10,000 employees, and overall shifting its priority to cash preservation. This is undoubtedly the biggest shift in their history.


Company Sustainability Activity

Delta’s comments regarding sustainability practices:

“Their commitment to sustainability is about joining arms to create a better world. We are committing $1 billion over the next 10 years on their journey to mitigate all emissions from their global business. The investments will drive innovation, advance clean air travel technologies, accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establish new projects toward a more sustainable future.”


  • New Security Incident Response tool better mitigates dangerous moments that might target or unintentionally disadvantage Delta operations, brand, employee safety, or property
  • 3.9% Total Recordable Injury Rate performance for three years in a row, (43% better than the industry average)
  • 3.21 days away, restricted or transfer rate (DART) compared to 3.09 in 2018
  • Reduced the exposure of baggage handlers to motion-related injuries by adding 55 Power Stow belt loaders
  • Installed new safety-critical devices on ground support equipment vehicles like an engine cuto switches to prevent uncommanded movement
  • Increased the Serious Injury or Fatality Potential events observations across the operation
  • 800+ detailed safety audits conducted across their domestic and international airports, focusing on Ground Operations, Cargo, De-Icing, and Fueling
  • 50,000+ employees completed Advanced Situational Awareness training, active-shooter, and armed-attack response training
  • Introduced Narcan nasal sprays to their onboard medical supplies to help reverse opioid overdoses
  • Trained 2,000+ Delta employees on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR without rescue breaths) through 25 hands-on training events
  • 2 notices of violation (NOVs) received from environmental regulatory agencies
  • Increased deployment of electric GSE and to use of alternative fuels in this equipment
  • 670 tons of hazardous waste generated, compared with 444 tons in 2018 (the same tracking method was used for both years)
  • 4,806 total tons of nonhazardous land ll waste produced from Delta operations—an increase from 1,015 tons in 2018
  • Removed enough single-use plastic items to equal to the weight of almost two Boeing 757 aircraft
  • Achieved zero-waste operations
  • Took delivery of 88 new, more fuel-efficient aircraft including the A220, A321-200s, B-737-900ERs, A350-900s, A330-900s, and A220-100s
  • 3M gallons (or $75M) of fuel, and 325,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, were saved through fuel-saving initiatives
  • Operated their first SAF flights: the delivery of their Airbus 330-900neo from Toulouse, France, to Atlanta
  • Since 2005, they have reduced absolute GHG emissions by 9%
  • 1.83%, improved fuel efficiency compared to 2018; their Revenue Ton-Miles (RTM) grew by 4.43% while total fuel use increased only 2.52%
  • Since 2013, they have purchased and retired more than 14 million offsets.
  • 20,141 employees and contractors completed the Delta Code of Ethics and Business Conduct online course
  • Continued Delta Vision 2020, a three-year plan to increase diversity, particularly in leadership roles
  • Designed and launched diversity and inclusion education training for employees
  • Hosted a Latinx summit to help increase Latinx employee representation at every level of the company
  • $1.71 billion spent with minority, veteran, LGBTQ+ and women-owned businesses, a 24% increase over 2018, to grow diversity and inclusion to their supply chain
  • Employed 12,000+ veterans
  • Paid out more than $1 billion annually over six years in a row through Profit Sharing.
  • 82% of employees who participated in the 2019 Employee Survey gave Delta a positive rating
  • Introduced a refreshed Foundational Leadership Program for new leaders at Delta to build leaders’ skills and guide their teams in the achievement of their company mission
  • 20,000+ employees participated in Business Resource Groups that provide professional development, drive engagement, and are a source for business solutions
  • Launched a new hiring experience with improved search capabilities, a streamlined application process, and better, more frequent communications for internal and external candidates


  • Reduce net aviation CO2 emissions 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels
  • Improve fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020
  • Achieve carbon-neutral growth on international emissions beginning in 2021. Delta has capped all emissions at 2012 levels
  • Reduce year-over-year waste generation.
  • Not to exceed three Environmental Notices of Violation
  • No more than 90 combined Class I and Class II spills annually


  • In 2019, fuel efficiency improved 1.83%, compared to 2018; their Revenue Ton-Miles (RTM) grew 15by 4.43% while total fuel use increased only 2.52%.
  • Voluntarily purchased and retired more than 14 million offsets, well ahead of the IATA goal of capping international emissions starting in 2021.


Delta Air Lines does not hold any certificates related to sustainability at the moment.


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDGs Compliance


  • Supported healthier global communities and lifestyles, as well as provided basic health needs worldwide #1 Corporate blood donor to the American Red Cross.
  • In 2019, Delta employees donated 13,064 pints of blood, saving close to 40,000 lives 
  • Employees helped repack more than 2 million pounds of food annually across the globe, including support of 18 Feeding America food banks
  • Global hospital support included 21 children’s hospitals, 15 of which are Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
  • Employees and customers raised $6.6M million in 2019 for the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Breast Cancer Research Foundation and United Way


  • Promoted education and lifelong learning for all
  • Created a pipeline of future Delta employees and customers through their support of education
  • Through partnership with Junior Achievement, Delta supported 30+ chapters across four continents to ignite an educational spark in 800,000+ students annually
  • Supported 3DE, an interactive educational program that re-engineers high school education to be more relevant, experiential and authentically connected to experiences outside the classroom
  • Partnered with the national nonprofit KABOOM! to fund and build 30 playgrounds in 14 cities since 2013
  • Partnered with 22 YMCAs on 2 continents to help provide programming to support educational programs

SDG 5 

  • Created community partnerships with organizations like Girls Who Code to further diversity STEM careers
  • Cumulatively over 600 girls on Delta’s annual all-female WING Flight to introduce them to jobs in aviation
  • Increased female representation across the business, particularly on the leadership level through strategic HR practices
  • Committed to maintaining pay parity for men and women in administrative and frontline jobs
  • Hired and developed women-owned businesses through Supplier Diversity & Inclusion program
  • Provided employee training to ght human tracking in the air, at home and in local communities
  • First and only U.S. carrier to sign a Code of Conduct outlined by End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Tracking
  • Founded company for the Global Business Coalition against Human Tracking in 2012
  • Created career development opportunities to support human tracking survivors


  • Provided approximately 91,000 jobs throughout global operations
  • In 2019 Delta employs over 12,000 active duty and military veterans
  • Has consistently ranked high on national lists for employee engagement
  • Provided competitive benefits and compensation
  • Shared $1.6 billion in pro ts with employees, marking the sixth year in a row that pro t sharing has exceeded $1 billion
  • Invested in the individual potential of employees through training and development programs
  • Established processes and encouraged practices to ensure a safe workplace

SDG 9 

  • Invested in innovative technology, such as biometrics, to enhance safety, security and the customer experience
  • Collaborated with regulatory and government agencies to deploy new technologies that enhance flight safety

SDG 10 

  • Promoted a culture of diversity and inclusion through Business Resource Groups that count more than 18,000 members
  • Supported industry workplace diversity initiative, such as the CEO Action for
    Diversity & Inclusion
  • Committed to spousal bene ts for same-sex couples and their children
  • Maintained a robust supplier diversity program to support minority, veteran, LGBTQ+, and women-owned businesses
  • Provided a ordable air transport to facilitate cultural understanding and exchange
  • Enabled travel for those who are disabled or have medical conditions
  • Committed to becoming a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an exclusive group of corporate brands that spend a minimum of $1 billion annually with certified diverse-owned businesses

SDG 11

  • Enabled global travel through the availability of a ordable air transport
  • Promoted community engagement through their three key pillars of Advancing Education, Improving Health and Supporting Armed Service Members and Veterans
  • Built 273 homes in 13 countries with Habitat for Humanity since the partnership began in 1995
  • Each year, more than 1,500 Delta employees have volunteered to build homes in the U.S. and internationally to offer families safe, decent and affordable homes

SDG 12

  • Worked with their suppliers to increase the efficiency of their aircraft through lightweighting and aircraft replacements
  • Upcycled aircraft, aircraft parts and uniforms through programs such as re:loom and Looptworks
  • Promoted their headquarters and in- ight recycling programs at 40 domestic recycling locations and three international recycling locations worldwide
  • Material compliance with all environmental regulations in the areas of air quality, aircraft drinking water and waste
  • Delta has built 12 homes with Habitat for Humanity with funds from on-board recycling and TechOps oil recycling program.

SDG 13

  • Aligned with IATA on short-, medium- and long-term goals to improve fuel efficiency, achieve carbon neutral growth and reduce carbon emissions
  • Committed $1 billion over the next ten years toward mitigating all emissions from their global business going forward through innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions
  • Worked with suppliers to increase the fuel efficiency of aircraft and implement fuel-savings flight procedures
  • Supported development of alternative aviation fuels

Delta Air Lines has made great progress in sustainability: the company has a cohesive sustainability report that includes specific information regarding progress made and certain SDGs the company is focusing on. Delta has also received many listings and awards from reputable sources. Delta does not have any certificates or labels, therefore, the company has been given a “C” rating. 

Analyst Outlook Negative

As an airline business that contributes immensely to carbon emissions, the company must continue doing more to show that it are making significant progress toward sustainability.


Key Points

  • Clearly stated targets, progress, highlights, and SDGs
  • Several listings and awards
  • No certificates 
  • It is not clear if they are doing enough to offset their immense emissions
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