Sustainabilty for Airlines

The airline sector is a truly global industry. It’s an industry that’s important and visible to huge numbers of people and with a very extensive supply chain. It has one of the largest groups of stakeholders of any sector, and airlines need to be responsive to all of them. Sometimes that means balancing conflicting interests. Clearly and honestly.

Transparency builds trust – and trust is at the heart of every sustainable company. Reporting is not just about communication. It’s also about basing concrete, measureable actions in a robust corporate sustainability strategy that’s integrated with a company’s overall goals. That means better use of scarce resources, better compliance with increased regulations and more satisfied customers. KLM is taking notice and working to improve its corporate sustainability reporting. Right now it’s starting at the top, with the world’s largest airlines taking the lead. Many have made a great start, but we think there’s still room for improvement.


What stakeholders want to know

1.General business profile: to what extent the company describes its general profile, including company structure, activities, brands, countries it operates, etc.

2.Strategy and policy: how does the company describe its sustainability policies and to what extent is the sustainability strategy integrated in the overall strategy.

3.Governance structure and management approach: describes to what extent the various governance bodies are involved, how the monitoring and control of corporate sustainability activities is set up, which incentives are in place, etc.

4.Results: from a qualitative perspective, to what extent is the company reporting on economical, social and environmental aspects.

5.Corporate social reporting policy: does the company use corporate sustainability reporting standards or guidelines, is the scope of the report clearly defined, are methods of measuring, calculating and estimating disclosed, etc.

6.Relevance of reported measures: are the measures that a reader would expect disclosed (e.g. fuel efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, waste, noise, number of passengers, number of safety incidents, etc.).

7.Clarity of the report: focuses on the structure of the report and the extent to which key indicators are defined. Reliability of the report: focuses on external verification of the report.

8.Stakeholder involvement: describes the company’s process of identifying stakeholders and engaging in discussions with stakeholders.

9.Contextual consistency: focuses on the extent the report fits in the broader picture of the industry, the state of the economy, the company’s overall strategy, etc.