Legal action focuses on KLM’s Fly Responsibly ad campaign which gives a ”false impression” of its sustainability

Major Dutch airline KLM is facing legal action over misleading marketing that promotes the sustainability of flying. The action, is being brought by ClientEarth along with Dutch campaigners Fossielvrij Netherlands.

Following a legal letter sent to KLM on 24 May 2022, it warns that a claim will be filed in court if KLM does not comply with Fossielvrij and ClientEarth’s demands. The Court will then consider whether the claim has standing to proceed.

The legal action focuses on KLM’s Fly Responsibly ad campaign and its offers for customers to buy carbon offset products to reduce the impact of their flight by funding reforestation projects or KLM’s purchase of biofuels.

”Aviation relies on highly polluting fossil fuels, and expert studies warn that the airline industry cannot reach net zero by 2050 and align with climate goals without lowering air traffic,” says ClientEarth in a statement.

“However, KLM’s marketing campaign attempts to convince consumers otherwise, giving a false impression of the sustainability of its flights and plans to address its climate harm.

“If KLM doesn’t comply with our demands to cease greenwashing, the lawsuit will argue that KLM’s campaigns and carbon ‘compensation’ schemes are misleading, and violate European consumer law.”

Climate change litigation continues to grow in importance as a way of either advancing or delaying effective action on climate change, according to the Grantham Research Institute .

Globally, the cumulative number of climate change-related cases has more than doubled since 2015. Just over 800 cases were filed between 1986 and 2014, while over 1,000 cases have been brought in the last six years.