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Campaigners file greenwashing suit against KLM

Environmental organizations today filed a greenwashing lawsuit against KLM in the Netherlands, arguing that the carrier refused to stop using “misleading” claims in its advertising.

Dutch campaigners Fossielvrij NL, supported by ClientEarth and Reclame Fossielvrij, filed the legal claim this morning in the District Court of Amsterdam.

They argue that KLM’s “Fly Responsibly” campaign breaches EU consumer rules by suggesting its flights won’t worsen the climate crisis.

The suit also claims that the marketing of KLM’s CO2ZERO offset scheme — through which customers can donate to reforestation schemes and sustainable aviation fuels — is unlawful, as is the “Real Deal” discount flight sale promoted in May as a “sustainable fuel bonus.”

In an evidence report attached to the claim, the campaigners say the airline cannot legitimately claim that donating to such projects compensates the climate impact of flying.

While several brands, including in the energy, clothing and food sector, have been hit with greenwashing lawsuits, today’s lawsuit marks the first time an airline is targeted.

The filing follows a pre-action letter delivered to KLM during its Annual General Meeting last month. 

“We warned that if KLM did not stop its misleading advertising, we would see them in court,” said Hiske Arts, a campaigner at Fossielvrij NL.

KLM did not respond to a request for comment.

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