Air France-KLM Sustainability Report 2019 available now
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented and it is still unclear how exactly the world and societies will look like after this pandemic. The crisis has hit the globe as it transitions to a more sustainable economy. The aviation sector is also undergoing fundamental change as a result. Even in these difficult times, KLM will not lose sight of the challenges that climate change poses to society. Even better, our work will be continued with even more effort.
In the past 30 years, KLM has already taken many steps towards making aviation more sustainable, and last year this was reflected in the sustainability initiative Fly Responsibly. A sustainable operation, innovation, and collaboration with other parties have been – and still are – the foundations on which our operation is built and they will continue to play a vital role in the reconstruction of our company and sector coming out of this crisis.
For the 15th consecutive year, Air France-KLM secured a place in the top three of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) Airlines category in September 2019. KLM is extremely proud of this position, which indicates how successful KLM is at working to make airlines and the aviation sector more sustainable. Below is a summary of the most important activities KLM undertook in 2019. (The full list can be found in the appendix "2019 at a Glance").
In June 2019, KLM launched Fly Responsibly as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure a more sustainable future for aviation. Fly Responsibly encompasses everything KLM is doing, and is going to do, to make its activities more sustainable and is predicated on three strategic pillars: Reduce, Replace, Compensate. In an open letter published worldwide in 2019, KLM invited stakeholders across the aviation industry to join forces to develop sustainable solutions for the sector. Under the banner Fly Responsibly, KLM invited – and continues to invite – other airlines, partners, customers and employees to use KLM's sustainability projects and resources, and to share their insights and experiences with KLM in return.
Reducing carbon emissions, SAF and compensation
The KLM Group has cut its total carbon emissions by 4% since 2005 and by 31% per passenger kilometer (compared to 2005). The targets for 2030 stand at -15% and -50% respectively. Fleet renewal has contributed substantially to this result. In 2019, KLM took delivery of eight new, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft, including the Dreamliner 787-10.
KLM is also continuing to invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Last year KLM purchased 6911 tonnes of SAF and announced that it would be building the Netherlands' first SAF production plant in partnership with SkyNRG. This will enable KLM to increase its use of sustainable fuel in the near future. New partners also joined KLM's Corporate Biofuel Programme: Microsoft, SHV Energy and Neste.
KLM has also taken further steps to reduce carbon emissions on the ground. It aims to achieve a carbon-neutral ground operation by around 2030. Last year, KLM reduced its ground operations' carbon emissions by 50%, compared to the previous year (2018). This was achieved by buying in green energy and deploying electric ground equipment.
175,000 passengers' travel was carbon neutral last year, thanks to KLM's compensation programme CO2ZERO. This scheme enabled 680 hectares of tropical forest to be planted in Panama.
Reducing waste volume
KLM has already achieved a 19% reduction in non-recyclable waste, which it aims to cut further to 50% by 2030 (compared to 2011). This will be achieved by producing less waste overall and by increasing the proportion that can be recycled. KLM is also investing in other innovative ideas, such as recycling different kinds of catering items within a closed system and recycling PET bottles into 3D-printer filament to make aircraft repair and maintenance tools.
KLM has also contributed to research into an innovative aircraft design, called Flying V, at Delft University of Technology. This concept represents an entirely new approach to aircraft design, which will make long-haul flight operations much more sustainable in future.
Replacing short-haul flights
Thalys, NS and KLM last year joined forces for the action plan Smart and Sustainable, to prepare to replace short-haul flights with international rail links. The first daily service that KLM intended to remove from its flight schedule and replace with a train service was Amsterdam-Brussels. This was planned for the end of March 2020.