Delta Air Lines is facing a lawsuit over its $1bn carbon neutrality claim which plaintiffs say is “false and misleading” as it relies on offsets that do little to mitigate global heating. The plaintiffs state that Delta should pay damages to customers for misrepresenting itself as a carbon-neutral airline in their marketing. Their advertisements persuaded customers to purchase more expensive tickets they believed had no effect on the environment, according to the complaint.
'Carbon neutral' pledge
In February 2020, the US airline announced plans to go carbon neutral, pledging $1bn to mitigate all greenhouse gas emissions from its business worldwide over the next decade. It included plans to purchase carbon credits generated from conserving rainforest, wetlands and grasslands along with decreasing the use of jet fuel and increasing plane efficiency.
The new legal action, filed in California in May 2023, targets Delta’s statement that it is “the world’s first carbon-neutral airline”, a claim it has made in adverts, LinkedIn posts, in-flight napkins and comments by company executives, according to the lawsuit.
The class-action lawsuit says Delta’s carbon neutrality claim is demonstrably false as it heavily relies on junk offsets that do nothing to counteract the climate crisis. It alleges that customers would have purchased Delta tickets believing they had no impact on the environment and many would not have bought them without the carbon neutrality claim.