KLM calls on airlines to work closer together for a more sustainable future for aviation
Fri 12 July 2019 – KLM has invited aviation industry stakeholders to join it in working together to pursue a more sustainable future for aviation and launched a campaign called ‘Fly Responsibly’ aimed at customers, employees, corporates and other airlines. The initiative was launched at an event held at Amsterdam Schiphol to mark 100 days before the airline’s 100th anniversary. The airline is offering other airlines without a carbon offsetting programme free incorporation of its CO2ZERO service into their own booking system without KLM branding. KLM is also encouraging its own passengers to compensate for their flight emissions through the service and suggests they use more sustainable modes of transportation, such as the railway, on short destinations. In the recently published Air France-KLM sustainability report, the airline says in 2018, CO2 emissions per passenger were reduced by 17.3% compared to 2011.
“When we started 100 years ago, our major concern was safety. Little did we know about the impact we would have on the environment. Today we know aviation comes with another big responsibility – to make sure our children have a planet to explore as well,” said KLM CEO Pieter Elbers in an open letter.
“For the past 14 years we have been at the top of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. We have made serious progress in weight reductions, recycling and carbon offsetting, and we have invested in the first sustainable fuel plant in Europe. However, we still don’t have all the answers.
“Many other leading airlines have also made great strides. To truly create a sustainable future for aviation, we need to work together and do even more. All airlines, all stakeholders in the aviation industry. And yes, all air travellers too. That is why we kindly ask everyone to join forces.
“We invite the aviation industry to join us in making the world aware of our shared responsibility. We value competition, but we must work together in sustainable aviation. That is why we commit to sharing what we have learned with you and open our best practices to you. Feel free to make use of our certified carbon offset programme. We also invite all air travellers to make responsible decisions about flying.
“Let’s build a sustainable future together.”
When considering travel plans, the KLM ‘Fly Responsibly’ microsite advises KLM customers to offset their flight CO2 emissions by selecting CO2ZERO when booking and so contribute to the ‘CO2OL Tropical Mix’ reforestation initiative in Panama, where 3.5 million trees have so far been planted. The project has been recognised with a Gold Standard for the Global Goals certificate. KLM says nearly 90,000 passengers offset the emissions from their flight in 2018, an increase of almost 50% compared to 2017.
As well as opting for the train on short-haul journeys, a blog by Remona van der Zon, a sustainability manager at KLM, suggests business travellers consider video conferencing over physical meetings. She says KLM wants to share sustainability best practice with other interested airlines and will organise webinars and panel discussions to explore progressing together. The first quarterly webinar is due to take place in early September, which will discuss sustainable fuels along with KLM partner SkyNRG.
The two announced in May a project to build a commercial-scale plant in the Netherlands that is expected to produce 35 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year from 2022. KLM believes using sustainable fuel currently has the most impactful change on behalf of the environment. Last month, the airline said it would support the long-haul Flying-V concept aircraft being developed by TU Delft.
According to its Sustainability Report 2018, KLM’s target for 2020 is to reduce CO2 emissions per passenger by 20% compared to 2011. Towards 2030, the KLM Group aims to reduce its total CO2 emissions by 15% compared to 2005, equivalent to a 50% reduction of CO2 per passenger-kilometre. It also has an ambition to achieve a carbon-neutral ground operation by the same year and reduce residual waste by 50% compared to 2011.