CHICAGO, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines is launching a Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) initiative in an effort to better understand the environmental performance of its suppliers and deepen relationships with its key supply chain partners. The initiative underscores United's effort to lead commercial aviation as an environmentally responsible company and builds on the airline's actions and commitment to environmental sustainability. "We work with hundreds of suppliers so it's important for us to understand the environmental impact on our supply chain, and this new initiative allows us to be proactive," said Katrina Manning, United's vice president of technical procurement. "Focusing on our supply chain presents us with an opportunity to make responsible decisions to further strengthen our commitment to the environment." The SSC program involves measuring and evaluating the sustainability of United's current suppliers' products and operations through a comprehensive survey, starting with those suppliers in traditionally high-risk industries as well as members of the airline's strategic supplier community. United will also integrate the environmentally focused questions into its request for proposal (RFP) process. Through implementation of the SSC program, United will evaluate whether the use of its suppliers' product or services would reduce the airline's impact on the environment. "We are pleased to launch this program that demonstrates our commitment to working with key supply chain partners on environmental issues," said Jimmy Samartzis, United's managing director of global environmental affairs and sustainability. "We will not only incorporate environmental considerations into our purchasing decisions, but will also seek to identify opportunities to collaborate with our suppliers to improve the environmental profile of the products and services we use." In 2014, United will seek to establish targets for improvement and begin to communicate those expectations to its suppliers.