At the Dutch Aviation Agenda Conference (De Nederlandse Luchtvaartagenda) held in Noordwijk, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines called on participants representing the Dutch aviation sector to adopt a proactive approach towards addressing climate problems.
“We cannot adopt a wait-and-see attitude. We must address the problem in a proactive manner as opposed to being reactive. Together, even if it’s one step at a time, we can make a dynamic start. At KLM, we are keen to establish a working group representing the Dutch airline industry to examine ways to implement all the available improvements,” said Jan-Ernst de Groot, Executive Vice President of KLM in his keynote speech.
During his speech, De Groot said that aviation must be preserved. “If we, as the Schiphol community, adopt a wait-and-see stance, we are at grave financial risk. We place ourselves beyond the scope of debate and aviation runs the risk of becoming a symbol of the ‘inconvenient truth.’ No, we must contribute seriously towards finding a solution to a global problem and make preparations for forthcoming European legislation. In so doing, Schiphol’s contribution as a mainport to Dutch prosperity will be secured.”
“The airline industry has pushed through numerous environmental improvements in recent years. But that’s not enough. We can achieve more together by taking account of environmental performance in relation to all our business activities. Fuel consumption, weight, engines, routes, ground equipment, ground movements, infrastructure - there’s room for improvement in many areas. And we need government support in this respect. In creating a European airspace, CO2 emissions could be cut by as much as 10% to 12%.” De Groot added.
KLM’s approach consists of three steps: reduction (stop at nothing to reduce pollution at source through technological and/or operational improvements), control (the emissions trading system would appear to be the most effective and efficient system to control emissions and could serve as a powerful marketing mechanism that stimulates innovation) and compensation (e.g. in the form of reforestation and/or technological investments in other forms of compensation. However, in a growth scenario, this comes after the first two steps).
According to KLM’s EVP, it is unbelievable just how little attention is being devoted to climate problems in the election programs. “At KLM, we have gathered experience with the introduction of policy directed at assuming corporate social responsibility. This demands concrete action. Pollution is inherent to our product and it took several years to improve our environmental performance. Thanks to investing billions in modernizing our fleet and continuously improving operational procedures, KLM has achieved fuel-efficiency improvements of roughly 25% above the European average. What’s more, we are the only airline in the world to have achieved ISO 14001 certification for all our operations and we earned a European EMAS certificate in this area in 2000 as well.”