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Corporate Social Responsibility
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Road to sustainable aviation fuels

KLM’s approach

KLM Biobrandstof

KLM believes flying should be made more sustainable. Despite the economic challenges, KLM is striving on all fronts to reduce its impact on the climate. CO2 reduction and – efficiency are key in this regard. Thanks to fleet renewal and a dynamic fuel-reduction programme, KLM has gained a place among the industry leaders.

The aim of the air transport industry (IATA) is to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% in 2050. KLM already strives for a 20% CO2 reduction per ton/kilometer as per 2020 (compared to 2009). KLM believes that only a sustainable alternative to fossil-fuel kerosene can bring a drastic reduction in emission in the medium term. Innovation is key in this regard.

KLM’s approach is distinctive in that a company –SkyEnergy (SyNRG)- has been specially established to give the production and availability of biofuels a real impulse. SkyNRG is a joint venture of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, North Sea Group and Spring Associates. SkyNRG’s mission is to help create a sustainable future for aviation through actively developing a sustainable production chain for alternative aviation fuels. Today the market for these fuels is just emerging; SkyNRG is taking the first steps to make this a reality. A breakthrough can only be achieved by combining essential expertise and experience in the fields of regulations, effective sustainability criteria, product knowledge and air transport.

The World Wide Fund for Nature in the Netherlands (WWF Netherlands) sees the establishment of SkyNRG as a ground-breaking development. The sustainability of alternative aviation fuels depends on many factors and has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To ensure it makes the right decisions now and in the future, SkyNRG is advised by an independent Sustainability Board, consisting of the Dutch chapter of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Netherlands), Solidaridad and the Copernicus Institute of the University of Utrecht.

Biofuel flights
On 23 November 2009, KLM operated the world’s first demonstration flight with passengers on board using biofuel. On this flight, one engine ran on a mix of 50% biofuel made from camelina (huttentut). On 29 June 2011, this was followed by the first commercial flight on biokerosene from Amsterdam to Paris with 171 passengers on board. The biokerosene used on this flight was made from recycled cooking oil supplied by SkyNRG. In September a series of flights were operated on this route. With these flights KLM is demonstrating more sustainable operations really are possible.

An alternative fuel is only an option for KLM if it meets all three sustainability criteria: ecological, technical and financial.

With these flights using biofuel and the establishment of the company SkyNRG, KLM has taken important steps. In the framework of the renewed partnership with WWF Netherlands, KLM has declared its intention to strive for a 1% mix of sustainable biofuel throughout the entire fleet by 2015.

However, a lot still has to happen before biofuel will be available on a large scale and for it to be economically competitive in relation to fossil-fuel kerosene. We cannot achieve this alone. We absolutely need the commitment and support of all the relevant parties: business, government and society.