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Travel changing the world for good: Delta releases 2022 ESG report

Delta’s always-on work to advance its purpose is on full display in the airline’s 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report. The latest data, insights and examples of how Delta is delivering meaningful progress in Safety, People and Culture, Environmental Sustainability and Community Impact clearly illustrate Delta’s purpose behind its business.

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Delta’s recently released 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance report shares example after example of how the global airline is holding itself accountable to create a safer, more equitable workplace that reflects the communities it serves while pushing forward a more sustainable future.

“As our business soared toward recovery in 2022, we never lost sight of our goals to support the communities where we live, work and serve,” said CEO Ed Bastian. “Our global team of more than 90,000 rose to the occasion, reconnecting millions with their loved ones while making great progress in our pursuit of a more sustainable and equitable world.” 

Safety First, Always

Safety is part of Delta’s DNA, embedded in its culture and a core value that drives business decisions and investments. In 2022, the company safely transported more than 177 million customers.

With the rise of travel demand coupled with the hiring of a record number of new employees, Delta made investments to successfully integrate, adapt and improve its safety training and management programs, and develop new safety leaders in the operation, including:

  • Doubling down on Delta’s Just Culture that uses collaboration, observations and conversations to investigate safety incidents to prevent them in the future.
  • Launching the Ground Safety Advocate program, which embeds advocates across the operation to teach safety by showing rather than telling. This helped new employees in practicing their peer-to-peer communication skills about safety concerns to promote best safety practices.  
  • Investing in equipment, technology and training for navigating common hazards.

“We walk the walk with our peers so that they can develop the knowledge, skills and safety leadership as they gain more experience at Delta. I meet with frontline agents and teams to grow and support our safety culture and personally encourage our people to call a Safety ‘Time Out’ if a situation requires it,” said Livia “Niecy” Moore-Tolden, an Atlanta-based Operation Service Manager for the Ground Safety Advocate program. “Taking this important pause takes courage in our fast-paced operation but it helps ensure our people and customers remain safe – a critical piece of delivering our reliable service safely.”

Powered by People & Culture in Pursuit of a More Equitable World

At the core of the Delta Difference are the people who power America’s most-awarded airline. That’s why Delta is laser-focused on investing in talent – both financially and enhancing holistic employee wellness – while striving to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment through the following actions:

  • Delivered highly competitive total compensation packages that again included a profit-sharing program that has historically shared more of the airline’s profits than others’, leading to more than $9.2 billion in payouts since 2010.
  • Announced a robust financial education and literacy program at no cost – which enables eligible employees to earn $1,000 towards an emergency savings account when they complete the financial and coaching program and contribute to the account.
  • Introduced The Flourishing Index , which helps measure holistic employee wellness through physical, emotional, social and financial pillars. The results ultimately guide more equitable and effective people program enhancements.

“We want to see everyone in our Delta family maintain or improve their wellbeing – including their financial health. Developing multi-faceted programs to build literacy, communications and design is a fun challenge and crucial to make sure we’re doing the best for our people,” said Luke DeBoer, Manager of Financial Wellbeing. “I’m proud that Delta is one of the first companies to launch an emergency savings program. It’s still early stages but through initial data and anecdotes, we already know that it’s positively making difference with our people.”

While there’s still plenty of progress to be made, Delta’s been taking actions in support of its diversity, equity and inclusion goals for its people and across communities, including:

  • Increasing representation of women, Black talent and other underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in roles across the company through the Close the Gap strategy. The largest acceleration was in the category of vice president and above for women – now at 34% in 2022 (up from 26% in 2020).
  • Launching the Step Up Inclusion Training on conscious and unconscious bias and the Skills-First apprenticeship program, which centers on hiring, developing and promoting people with relevant skills and experience for open roles within the company.
  • Prioritizing opportunities to do business with minority and women-owned establishments. Delta is on its way to doubling its spending with Black-owned businesses by 2025, having spent close to $493 million in 2022 toward the goal of $690M by the end of 2025.
  • Created Faces of Travel in partnership with Adobe, photographer Seo Ju Park and Kin to create an image library that reflects a more inclusive and accurate view of diverse travelers. It is available at no cost for social media, advertising, and other content creators.

“I first started working at Delta as a seasonal ramp agent which eventually evolved to a career as a Red Coat (or customer service agent supervisor). I was looking to make a career change that better aligned with my passion and a mentor told me about the Skills-First apprenticeship,” said Mykela Lowe, Content and Platforms Apprentice. “No one could imagine the joy I felt when I received my offer letter. I love that this program gives frontline employees the opportunities and exposure they need to chase the career of their dreams, without leaving the company they love.”

Flying Toward a More Sustainable Future

Delta believes that connecting the world more sustainably is an imperative for the health of business, people and global communities. The global airline rolled out an accelerated sustainability strategy featuring dual pillars of embedding sustainability in everything it does and eliminating its climate impact from flying. This strategy is underpinned by aspirational goals for 2050 as well as a series of incremental milestones along the way to measure progress. Delta took a number of meaningful steps forward on its journey in 2022, including:

  • Meeting its goal to electrify 25% of eligible Ground Support Equipment. Core fleets in Boston and Salt Lake City hubs are nearly 100% electric.
  • Saving 10 million gallons of fuel thanks to the work of Delta’s Carbon Council that focused on fuel efficiency improvements across the operation from drag and weight reduction initiatives to flight routing and speed optimization.
  • Reducing onboard single-use plastics by approximately 4.9 million pounds per year while elevating the onboard experience with more sustainable options like bamboo cutlery.
  • Announced a partnership with Joby Aviation to revolutionize the customer experience in the next few years with all-electric home-to-airport service by air.

It’s going to take effort from every person, in every position, to accomplish Delta’s sustainability goals, said Samantha McDonald, Sustainability Specialist. “I came to this company because Delta is taking action on their journey toward a sustainable future. We’ve refocused our sustainability strategy and now, continue to build on the great momentum and leadership the company has shown over the last few years to reduce our energy and fuel consumption, and advocate for renewable energy across our campus.”

Creating a more sustainable and inclusive business is a journey. As part of Delta’s ongoing commitment to transparency, the company began sharing Corporate Responsibility Reports in 2009. For the latest on Delta’s ESG progress, visit:

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