A passenger has filed a complaint, saying that the airline “has repeatedly touted itself as the world’s first carbon-neutral airline” in advertisements, press releases and other promotional material, which has prompted the passenger to purchase flights at a premium, believing that she has “engaged in more ecologically conscious air travel and participated in a global transition away from carbon emissions.”
The passenger argues that there is a market premium for green products and that Delta has profited from its misleading environmental claim.
The unregulated carbon-offsetting market has a range of issues affecting its credibility which include inaccurate accounting and highly speculative emissions reduction forecasts, as well as the uncertainty in permanence of carbon reductions. The class-action lawsuit states that Delta’s carbon neutrality claim is demonstrably false, as it uses offsets that in effect do nothing to counteract the climate crisis.
Delta Airlines announced plans to go carbon neutral, in February 2020, and pledged $1 billion to mitigate all its greenhouse gas emissions worldwide over the next decade. These plans included the decrease of jet fuel usage as well as using carbon credits generated from conserving rainforests, wetlands, and grasslands.
Companies globally are facing increasing scrutiny of their environmental sustainability claims. Consumers, investors, and other stakeholders are on the lookout for greenwashing and exaggerated sustainability claims by companies.
Dr Jacqueline Faridani
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