December 4, 2023

On Thursday, the European Client Advocacy Group, BEUC, filed a grievance with the European Fee in opposition to 17 airways.

BEUC believes that these airways falsely declare you’ll be able to offset carbon emissions by paying for sustainable aviation gas (SAF) or initiatives corresponding to planting timber or funding wind farms.

The BEUC believes that customers are deliberately misled by the airways that will cost larger fares claiming that half is used on SAF initiatives and calls for that airways refund these funds.

BEUC’s Press Launch:

Client teams launch EU-wide grievance in opposition to 17 airways for greenwashing

Up to date on 22 June 2023 – The variety of collaborating international locations has modified from 22 to 23, with Dutch shopper group Consumentenbond becoming a member of our motion. The full variety of international locations lined is now 19. 

At the moment, BEUC and 23 of its member organisations* from 19 international locations have filed a grievance to the European Fee and the community of shopper safety authorities (CPC) denouncing deceptive climate-related claims by 17 European airways.1 In accordance with authorized evaluation commissioned by BEUC, such claims breach the EU guidelines tackling unfair business practices.2

We’re calling for a Europe-wide investigation into the difficulty and for the involved airways – and your complete sector – to cease making claims that give shoppers the impression that flying is sustainable. That is merely unfaithful as flying will not be sustainable and isn’t sure to change into so within the close to future. The place airways have proposed shoppers to pay additional ‘inexperienced’ charges based mostly on such deceptive claims, CPC authorities ought to request airways to reimburse their clients.

BEUC members have recognized quite a few examples of deceptive practices concentrating on shoppers:

  • Claims that paying additional credit can “offset”, “neutralise”, or “compensate” the CO2 emissions of a flight are factually incorrect because the local weather advantages of offsetting actions are extremely unsure, whereas the hurt brought on by the CO2 emissions from air journey is for certain.
  • Airways are deceptive shoppers when charging them extra to contribute to the event of ‘Sustainable Aviation Fuels’ (SAFs): Such fuels are usually not market-ready and not too long ago adopted EU laws units very low targets for the way a lot they need to symbolize in aircrafts’ gas combine. Because of this till SAFs will probably be massively obtainable – past the tip of the 2030s – they are going to at finest solely symbolize a minor share in planes’ kerosene tanks.3
  • Implying that air journey could be “sustainable”, “accountable” and “inexperienced” is misleading. Not one of the methods deployed by the aviation sector are at present in a position to forestall Greenhouse Gasoline emissions. It is very important cease these claims as with air site visitors set to extend, emissions will preserve rising for years to return.4

Ursula Pachl, BEUC’s Deputy Director Common of BEUC, commented:

“When it’s crystal clear that air journey causes a big and growing share of greenhouse gasoline emissions, it beggars perception that airways freely lure shoppers with climate-friendly messaging corresponding to “CO2 compensated” or “CO2 impartial”. We urge authorities to take the matter into their fingers and crack down on this greenwashing observe critically deceptive shoppers.”

“Whether or not you pay a ‘inexperienced fare’ or not, your flight will nonetheless emit climate-harmful gases. Technological options to decarbonise aviation gained’t change into a massive-scale actuality any time quickly, so depicting flying as a sustainable mode of transport is pure greenwashing. At a time when many need to journey extra sustainably, airways ought to urgently cease providing shoppers a faux peace of thoughts.”

“Shifting shopper demand in the direction of extra sustainable transport modes is important to chop emissions. Airways should cease giving shoppers the misunderstanding that they’re selecting a sustainable transport mode. As well as, resolution makers should push for options to offer shoppers with dependable, engaging, and sustainable alternate options corresponding to higher-quality long-distance rail connections.”

Inexperienced Flying:

Obtain (PDF, 543KB)

Inexperienced Flying Findings & Conclusions:

Obtain (PDF, 1.69MB)

Greenwashing Techniques Used By The Airways:

Obtain (PDF, 5.93MB)

BEUC’s Full Report:

Obtain (PDF, 1015KB)


I attempt to use trains at any time when attainable, however it’s difficult outdoors of Japan and China.

These offsetting, SAF, and biofuel initiatives are no less than partially doubtful, and tough to measure their real-life effectiveness.