Delta Air Lines Accused of Greenwashing Over Its Carbon Neutrality Claims

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Delta Air Lines in a California court. The lawsuit is over the airline’s claims of greenwashing by presenting itself as carbon neutral in advertising and promotional activities.

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 greenwashing 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 and greenwashing claims. Consumers, investors, and other stakeholders are on the lookout for greenwashing and exaggerated sustainability claims by companies.

Delta Air Lines Accused Of Greenwashing Over Its Carbon Neutrality Claims

Dr Jacqueline Faridani

Dr Jacqueline Faridani heads up Prospect Law’s fast growing ESG practice. She is an advisor in financial risk management with 20 years of experience in a variety of risk management, compliance and product control roles at Canadian, German, French and Russian banks and life insurance companies, as well as for the Canadian financial regulator (OSFI).

Prospect is a multi-disciplinary practice with specialist expertise in the energy and environmental sectors with particular experience in the low carbon energy sector. The firm is made up of lawyers, engineers, insurance and risk management specialists, and finance experts.

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