Dutch court rules KLM green claims was greenwashing



The District Court of Amsterdam determined on March 20 that an advertising campaign for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and other environmental measures by the Dutch flag carrier, KLM, was deemed "greenwashing."

The court ruled that the Dutch airline had broken the law with misleading advertising in 15 of the 19 environmental statements it assessed. These include claims that the airline is moving towards a "more sustainable" future and statements on its website about the benefits of offsetting a flight.

In this greenwashing case brought by the campaign group Fossielvrij, a campaigner of the group, Hiske Arts, said, "The court could not have been clearer: companies are not allowed to claim they are tackling dangerous climate change when in reality they are fueling the crisis."

Several of the claims KLM made about its environmental ambitions were declared misleading due to being too vague. In relation to a billboard at Schiphol airport showing a child on a swing, the court ruled that KLM’s statement “join us in creating a more sustainable future” did not explain how flying with them related to any environmental benefit. The impression was reinforced by the background of sky, mountain and water, the court said.

The court also took aim at KLM’s presentation of its policies on sustainable aviation fuels and tree-planting, which is sold as a way to offset the emissions from a flight. It ruled, “These measures only marginally reduce the negative environmental aspects and give the wrong impression that flying with KLM is sustainable.”

Four statements that campaigners had criticized were deemed fair to use. The court also said the airline did not have to rectify the incorrect statements or warn customers that aviation is currently not sustainable. However, it emphasized that when KLM informs its customers about ambitions to cut emissions, it must do so “honestly and concretely”.

Related Topics
Machine tool industry seeks green transition amid booming carbon market
Siemens Energy aims to resume troubled wind turbine sales

More from Renewable Energy Certificate

Download request

Please fill out the form to download samples.

Job title
Company email
By using this site, you agree with our use of cookies.