Yesterday I wrote about how France plans on introducing a new aviation eco-tax, and how Air France is heavily opposed to it. As I explained yesterday:
- This is definitely the direction much of the world is headed, so I’d say we should expect a lot more of this
- I do think the government should do more to encourage airlines and consumers to minimize emissions as much as possible, though I’m not sure a departure tax is the best way to accomplish this; very little is done to encourage airlines to operate fuel efficient aircraft, for example
- This definitely puts a burden on airlines, since an increase in taxes leads to a decrease in how much airlines can otherwise charge
Well, Air France and KLM are owned by the same parent company, so it’s interesting to look at the campaign that KLM launched a couple of weeks ago, which also coincides with their 100th anniversary.
KLM is running a new “Fly Responsibly” campaign. The premise is that they’ve been flying for 100 years, and they want to make sure they make aviation sustainable in a way that means it will be around for another 100 years.
The airline encourages passengers to purchase carbon offset credits, and to pack light. But the airline also makes another very interesting suggestion.
Here’s a short ad, which I’ll share before talking about that suggestion:
As you can see, the video asks the following question:
Do you always have to meet face-to-face? Could you take the train instead?
Absolutely fascinating, and it’s one of the few times I’ve seen a company basically encourage you not to do business with them.
This would be the same as McDonald’s encouraging people to eat elsewhere because it’s healthier, or heck, even not eating burgers due to the impact that has on the environment.
So, should KLM be praised for this initiative, or is this complete hypocrisy?
I definitely lean more towards the former. In general the Dutch are environmentally conscious. I think there’s a happy medium that an airline can take between not caring at all about the environment, and shutting down operations due to the impact they have on the environment.
I also think KLM does a pretty good job explaining this on their “Fly Responsibly” page, acknowledging that this might be a surprising stance for an airline to take:
Yes, we are an airline and we realise aviation is far from sustainable today, even if we have been – and are – working hard to improve every aspect of our business. We are proud to have led the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 12 years and have been in the top 3 for 14 years in a row. But we need to do more. And we cannot do it alone. We have set ourselves the objective to lead the industry in delivering the economic and social value of network aviation in a sustainable way, by making our products and processes even more sustainable. That is why we kindly invite all parties to join us, and the many KLM passengers who have already supported us in our pursuit, by compensating their CO2 footprint with our CO2ZERO service. Let’s join forces for creating a sustainable future.
So as much as this is an unconventional campaign, I think KLM deserves credit for it.
Other airlines are trying to make similar claims, but in a less compelling way. For example, Lufthansa’s CEO now claims that it’s “ecologically irresponsible” to sell $11 flights.
What do you make of KLM’s “Fly Responsibly” campaign?