Beyond Greenwashing




Our report examines the recent greenwashing cases against airlines, explores why aviation is being targeted, and outlines future expectations for the industry.

Where do we stand?

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Beyond Greenwashing Report

The aviation industry faces increasing scrutiny and reputational risk due to its perceived contribution to climate change. The industry’s credibility is undermined by a history of missed sustainability targets and recycled PR headlines that often fail to deliver meaningful progress, leading to distrust among environmentalists.

The industry is almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels, with alternative fuels (SAF) projected to account for at most 0.5% of the total jet fuel consumption in 2024. As a result, it is almost inevitable that airlines that extensively sponsor sports, arts, entertainment, and cultural events will increasingly find their partnerships under intense scrutiny.

There will come a time when activists use a mixture of boycotts, protests and social media pressure to make the reputational cost of being linked to a ‘polluting’ airline outweigh the financial benefits of sponsorship. Indeed, there are already signs of this happening.

This report examines the aviation industry’s reputational challenges due to its perceived contribution to climate change.

What do climate activists really want?

Limiting advertising and publicity

Climate activists seek to limit how the aviation industry can advertise, with many advocating for a complete ban on fossil fuel advertising.

Imposing frequent flyer taxes

Activists also demand an end to frequent flyer programs and the implementation of a frequent flyer tax.

Advocating for Degrowth

Climate groups universally call for a halt to aviation growth and airport expansion, with some even advocating for flight limits, particularly on short-haul and domestic routes, as is the case in France.

Stifling sponsorships

Sponsorship investments by companies far less reliant on fossil fuels than airlines have been targeted by climate activists. It’s easy to foresee similar pressure on the aviation industry soon.



Sustainable Aviation Fuels Powerlist 2023

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