Etihad has faced accusations of greenwashing in relation to its net zero and carbon reduction targets.
Free Flight Australia claims that customers are being misled by its recent advertising campaign.
During an A-League football match between Melbourne City and Adelaide United in February last year Etihad had an advertisement reading “net zero emissions by 2050.”
This was accompanied by another advert stating “flying shouldn’t cost the Earth,” which the Australian watchdog claims is misleading in the airline’s true environmental impact.
It has complained directly to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), alleging that no concrete net zero plan is in place and such advertising campaigns undermine true efforts to reach the climate milestone.
Etihad’s net zero target is “technologically, practically, or economically feasible,” Free Flight Australia said.
It has also lodged complaints that the airline itself has accepted that there will be an increase in its carbon emissions by 2026 in its own sustainability report – and this completely counteracts the advertisements on show at the football game.
Spokesperson for Free Flight Australia, Alex Mungall, said: “Our complaint alleges Etihad has no credible path to net zero in place and is instead talking up emissions reduction initiatives that are not feasible.”
In response to the lodged complaint, an ACCC spokesperson said: “Greenwashing is a priority for the ACCC and we are currently examining a number of concerns about greenwashing involving a range of industries.”
Etihad responded it is “committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, in line with IATA’s declared industry-wide net zero ambition for 2050”.
It continued: “Our ambition is to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment and we continue to explore and test all possible ways to decarbonise – from research into sustainable aviation fuels and contrail avoidance to offsets and reforestation through the Etihad Mangroves.”