Blue Skies, Greenwashing
Airlines are jumping onto the bandwagon of advertising themselves as being environmentally friendly. What company doesn't want a big piece of the eco-friendly pie?
The problem is, what airlines say in their advertisement campaigns and what they actually do are quite different.
United-Continental's website claims: "Sustainability at the new United is first and foremost about creating a leading airline that achieves stability and profitability in a turbulent industry, by delivering an exceptional product to our customers and our communities. We take it a step further with a genuine commitment to responsible actions that reduce our impact on the environment while continuing to achieve our business goals."
Not to be left in the cold, American Airlines' Website says: "At American, we know that part of flying responsibly is ensuring that we minimize the environmental impacts associated with our operations—from pre-flight planning to well after our aircraft have delivered customers to their destinations."
These airlines freely use greenwashing words such as "sustainability," "commitment" and "responsibly," but as we all know, talk is cheap!
Peter Goldmark has written an informative article on how airline lobbyists work to make it so that airliners can continue with business as usual even as they consistently advertise an eco-friendly image to appeal to environmentally responsible consumers.
Goldmark reports that: "On January 1, 2012, all civil aviation flights using airports in Europe will become accountable for their global warming pollution. A new European law, designed to reduce global warming emissions from aviation as part of the larger effort to avert climate catastrophe, will apply to all airlines without regard to nation of origin."
On paper, the law looks like a positive step in the direction of reducing carbon emissions from aviation. Any airline sincere in its mission statement of being good stewards of the environment would welcome and follow the soon-to-be applied European regulation, but instead, United-Continental and American Airlines have turn to the U.S. court system and Capitol Hill to block legal measures that curb its aircrafts' emissions.Continued on the next page