Dutch airline KLM caught out with greenwashing claims


Dutch airline KLM has been found to have engaged in greenwashing over various unsubstantiated claims of environmental and sustainable practices in its advertising.

Campaign group Fossielvrij (Fossil Free) took the airline to court over its environmental claims around sustainable aviation travel.

The district court of Amsterdam sided with the environmental group, ruling that KLM had misled the public in 15 of the 19 environmental statements contested.

Some of the adverts were deemed too vague, such as a statement saying “join us in creating a more sustainable future” without providing any evidence that flying with the carrier would contribute to that aim.

Tree planting as a method for offsetting carbon emissions was also deemed to present an inaccurate picture of the airline’s sustainability credentials.

“These measures only marginally reduce the negative environmental aspects and give the wrong impression that flying with KLM is sustainable,” the court stated.

Hiske Arts, a campaigner at Fossielvrij, said the ruling was “a landmark victory in the fight against greenwashing”.

“The court could not have been clearer – companies are not allowed to claim they are tackling dangerous climate change when in reality they are fuelling the crisis,” Arts said.

KLM spokesperson Marjan Rozemeijer said the airline was “continuously learning”.

“We are pleased that the court has ruled that we can continue to communicate with our customers and partners about our approach to making aviation more sustainable,” Rozemeijer said.

“It is good that the court gives us more clarity about what is possible and how we can continue to communicate transparently and honestly about our approach and activities.”