Dutch airline KLM sued for “greenwashing”

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against Dutch airline KLM on advertisements promoting the plane as a sustainable mode of transport.

Dutch activists Fossielvrij NL, backed by Reclame Fossielvrij and environmental lawyers ClientEarth, said they believed the lawsuit was the first to challenge alleged “greenwashing” by the airline industry.

The groups claim KLM breached EU consumer law by misleading customers with adverts and a carbon offset program that “give a false impression about the sustainability of its flights and plans to tackle its climate damage”.

“KLM’s marketing misleads consumers into believing its flights won’t make the climate emergency worse. But that’s a myth,” said Hiske Arts, an activist from Fossielvrij NL.

The airline company did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The groups informed KLM in May that they were considering filing a complaint. It focuses on the airline “Fly responsibly” campaign and his statement that KLM is committed to “the goals set out in the Paris climate agreement.”

“The lawsuit will argue that these claims are highly misleading because KLM’s plan for continued flight increases is at odds with the rapid and deep reductions in emissions across all sectors which (UN panel) say they are needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown,” ClientEarth said.

Governments agreed in Paris in 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. The agreements included a preferred target to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 C (2.7 F).

As part of its campaign, KLM said customers could buy carbon offset coverage to fund reforestation projects and the purchase of biofuels. Environmental groups have said the product promoted by the airline to reduce the climate impact of planes is illusory.

The groups said the aviation sector would not achieve net zero emissions if it did not limit the total number of flights.

“While climate experts warn that we must reduce air traffic to keep a just and livable world within reach, KLM and the airline industry continue to focus on growth at all costs and to lobby intensively against climate change. climate regulations,” said ClientEarth attorney Johnny White.

In addition to the lawsuit filed in the Amsterdam District Court, environmental groups are calling for a ban on all fossil fuel advertising in the European Union.

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