Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit against Dutch carrier KLM over claims of greenwashing.
Fossil-free campaign Fossielvrij NL, supported by EU environmental law charity ClientEarth, submitted the claim in an Amsterdam court today.
According to the lawsuit, KLM’s Fly Responsibly campaign breaches the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, misleading customers into downplaying the airline’s contribution to climate change.
Launched in 2019, the campaign illustrates the steps the Dutch carrier is taking – including fleet renewal and carbon offsets – to reduce its CO2 footprint, in line with the climate targets set by the Paris Agreement.
“KLM has stuck with the false message that it is on the path to more sustainable flying,” said Hiske Arts, campaigner at Fossielvrij NL.
“There is no way it can do this while planning continuous air traffic growth that will fuel the breakdown of our climate.
“KLM will now have to defend its misleading claims before a judge.”
Campaigners accused the CO2ZERO carbon offset initiative – which helps the airline fund reforestation and purchase of biofuels – doesn’t compensate for the impact of flying.
“Trying to reassure customers that a small payment for tree planting or ‘sustainable’ fuel compensates for flight emissions undermines urgent climate action, is gravely misleading, and, the claim argues, is unlawful,” said ClientEarth’s lawyer Johnny White.
The airline vehemently denied the claims, saying its statements are “based on solid arguments” and that its communications strategy complies “with the applicable legislation and regulations.”
While not seeking financial compensation, claimants asked the court to force KLM to withdraw the campaign, stopping similar ads from being released in the future.