EU takes action against airlines over ‘greenwashing’ practices

By Ashmeeta Subra  June 6th, 2024

The European Union authorities are taking action against 20 airlines over misleading ‘greenwashing’ practices, including claims related to offsetting emissions from air travel.

The European Commission announced in a press release that EU regulators are investigating 20 airlines for several types of potentially misleading claims, and have issued a deadline for these airlines to rectify their practices.   

The investigation, led by regulatory bodies from Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain, focuses on claims made by airlines regarding carbon offsets and the use of sustainable fuels, which consumers can contribute to through additional fees. 

Other key aspects of the investigation include requesting clarity on the environmental impact of ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ (SAF) used by airlines, scrutinising the use of terms like ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ without proper justification, demanding accurate information on flight CO2 emissions comparisons and more.   

The European Commission has provided the airlines in question 30 days to respond with a proposal that will address the concerns raised during the investigation. Meetings will also be held to discuss proposed solutions with potential enforcement actions and sanctions if necessary.  

This action aligns with the EU consumer legislation's aim to ensure transparent and substantiated environmental marketing claims across the air travel sector. It also reflects broader EU efforts to promote sustainability and protect consumers from misleading green claims or ‘greenwashing.’  

The investigation reflects a growing global awareness and commitment to ensure transparency and accountability in environmental claims made by airlines, promoting genuine sustainability efforts within the aviation industry. As a result, it could empower consumers to make well-informed decisions based on airlines’ environmental practices and support companies committed to sustainability. 

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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