KLM faces legal challenge over ‘greenwashing’ – Business Traveller

Over recent months and years there have been many airline claims over sustainability.

Global airlines are fond of trumpeting their ‘green’ credentials so as not to fall out with their customers.

Now in what’s believed to be the first case of its kind KLM of the Netherlands faces a legal challenge.

Sky News reports that environmental lawyers Client Earth will argue the airline’s advertisements of carbon offsetting give a false impression of its flights’ sustainability.

Fossielvrij NL is another campaigner who is also involved in the lawsuit.

“KLM’s marketing misleads consumers into believing that its flights won’t worsen the climate emergency,” says Hiske Arts of Fossielvrij.  “But this is a myth,”  he adds.

Criticism surrounds KLM’s “Fly Responsibly” campaign which presents KLM as “creating a more sustainable future.”

A Netherlands’ court is to examine the case.

In fairness to KLM the airline is hampered by its dependence on sixth-freedom traffic to sustain its network.

Many of these feeder flights are short-haul which as we know are the most polluting.

Unlike other national airlines KLM cannot easily transfer this traffic to surface such as rail-air.

As an example, consider the many UK feeder flights KLM operates across the North Sea. KLM does not have a single rail-air connection.

Analysis: Why is KLM a rail-air laggard?

It is true that Brussels-Schiphol is supposed to gain rail-air soon although at the same time KLM says it will continue to operate flights on this 100+  mile sector.

We have contacted KLM for comment on the legal challenge, and will post any response here.


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