KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the oldest airline still in service, urges its passengers to make more conscious transport decisions, for the sake of the environment. The top airline of the Netherlands (and one of the safest in the world) launched its Fly Responsibly campaign, the focus of which is both to reduce its environmental impact and to suggest what steps each traveler can take to achieve the same.
This initiative was launched early this summer, partly in response to the flygskam or “flight shaming” movement, led by teenage environmentalist Greta Thunberg and other celebrities in Sweden, flygskam aims to persuade travelers to choose more sustainable modes of transportation such as trains.
The Goal of KLM Fly Responsibly
Fly Responsibly shows KLM agrees with flight shamers, at least in part. “Yes, we are an airline and we realize that today’s aviation is far from sustainable – despite our hard work to improve every aspect of our business,” the official campaign website reads. “We do everything in our power to make our contribution, but all parties involved must work together. All stakeholders in the aviation industry, all companies in every industry. And yes, also all travelers in aviation.”
The Role of the Responsible Flyer
How does KLM suggest its passengers can contribute to the responsible use of air travel? It all comes down to making conscious decisions. They do not expect people to stop taking flights, especially for long routes such as intercontinental travel. But for shorter distances, they may consider taking an electric train, for example, or some other means of mass public transportation.
On the other hand, a business trip could be replaced by a virtual meeting and get the same results with much less carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. If air travel is absolutely necessary, carrying less luggage and packing lighter reduces the amount of fuel used per flight. People should also prefer to stay in sustainable hotels or those with good environmental initiatives during their trips.
How KLM Sets an Example
KLM also has a service since 2008 called CO2ZERO, which allows passengers to compensate for carbon dioxide emissions on their flights and neutralize their own carbon footprint. Donations from all participants in the service are distributed among global projects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as develop clean and renewable energy sources.
CO2ZERO and Fly Responsibly are examples of the various sustainable projects developed by the airline under its KLM Takes Care banner. These include the use of sustainable bio-kerosene, which emits 85 percent less carbon dioxide compared to other aerial fuels. KLM also collaborates with the Delft University of Technology to develop the concept of the “Flying V“, an aircraft with a radical design that will be lighter generate less emissions than current jet aircraft.
KLM does not intend to solve the environmental problem alone. KLM Fly Responsibly also encourages every other airline in the world to join their initiatives or push their own.
“Sustainable development in aviation is not a ‘one-airline-topic’ and actual progress will only be made when we work together as an industry”, said Pieter Elbers, President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, in an open letter to the airline industry. “That’s why with the launch of the Fly Responsibly initiative, we invite others to use our CO2Zero program for carbon compensation free of charge and free of brand, and partner in our corporate BIO-fuel program.”