The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Air France-KLM promotes flight safety

Case study: How Air France-KLM promotes flight safety

With two major hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol, the Air France-KLM Group links Europe to the rest of the world, with 316 destinations in 115 countries. In 2014, Air France and KLM carried 87.4 million passengers. Aviation safety is thus an absolute priority.

This case study is based on the 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report by Air France-KLM published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.

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Safety is a top priority for Air France-KLM  Tweet This! and covers all measures taken to reduce the risks associated with aviation. Aviation security aims to combat criminal and terrorist acts against aircraft, employees and passengers. After measuring and setting targets, Air France-KLM took action to adhere to international aviation safety standards, upgrade and update Air France and KLM’s Safety Management Systems (SMS), promote a culture of safety – in 2014, three Flight Safety workshops, based on the re-enactment of a real event, brought together over 700 employees from all Air France divisions – and, also, protect customers, employees and assets through the Group’s security procedures – including measures such as risk analysis of Air France-KLM’s business and operations and the systematic inspection of aircraft, passengers, baggage, cargo and employees.

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Air France-KLM identified a range of material issues, such as biofuel, noise and air quality, fleet development, health and safety at work, customer relations. Among these, with 87.4 million passengers carried in 2014, flight safety stands out as Air France-KLM’s top material issue.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Air France-KLM engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


Financial partners

Non-financial rating



·         Quarterly presentations to analysts

·         Dedicated financial website

·         Annual publications

·         Shareholder Club

·         Advisory Committee for individual shareholders

·         Yearly General Shareholders’ Meeting

·         VBDO – Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO)

·         UN Global Compact (France & NL) COP Peer Review Sessions


and distributors



Cargo customers

Business partners




·         E-Score Survey and Quality Observer program

·         Customer assistance desks, web care

·         KLM Health Services and KLM Travel Clinics websites (

·         Health and onboard comfort pages on Air France website and international vaccination center

·         CO2calculation and compensation offers on Air France and KLM websites

·         Lab’line for the future program

·         KLM Corporate BioFuel Program

·         KLM participation in Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC)


Trade unions


associations and




·         Staff surveys

·         CSR trainings

·         Intranet and internal newsletters

·         Staff Innovation program

·         Air France Boussole mobility plan

·         Air France and KLM CSR Week

·         Negotiation and collective labour agreement

·         Work Council committees focused on working conditions, CSR and HR policies

·         Inter-company working groups (Global Compact, ORSE, Comité 21, AFEP…)

·         Partnerships with universities


European and national


National Policy makers




·         Dialogue and joint actions with national air transport authorities, airports and air traffic services

·         Working group on new European regulations

·         Air France and KLM public affairs representatives working with national and European institutions

·         Parliamentary hearings of the Group’s representatives

·         Proposal for amendments

·         Attendance at seminars, conferences and thematic working groups

Certification and

verification authorities

·         External follow-up and renewal audits

·         Verification of CSR published information



·         Sustainable Development Charter and sustainability clauses in contracts

·         Assessment of suppliers CSR performance

·         CSR in Supplier relationship Management

·         Air France committee to identify and follow contacts with sheltered sector suppliers


Air transport and

industry bodies

Air Traffic Control



·         Member of international (IATA), European (AEA) and national bodies (European Regions Airline Association, FNAM, GIFAS, BAR)

·         SkyTeam CSR working group

·         Involvement in SESAR JU, ACARE, CORAC and SAFUG

·         Member of Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials

·         Member of the Biofuel Flightpath’s Core Team of the European Commission

·         Air France partner of Ini-FCA

Local authorities

Resident associations

Local economic




·         KLM involvement in Alders Table and CROS

·         Air France member of the CCE and CCAR of the 10 biggest French airports

·         Air France member of associations for the local development and the international promotion of Paris-CDG area

·         2 Air France staff dedicated to Pays de Roissy-CDG association

·         Working visits and tours at Air France and KLM facilities

·         Cooperation KLM, Amsterdam, Schiphol (ASK)

Scientific community


Research experts


·         IAGOS Program (Air France)

·         Research Technical University Delft (KLM)

·         Membership in IDUT and supporting the chair Sustainable Tourism of Wageningen University

·         Participation in independent Sustainability Board SkyNRG

Environmental NGOs ·         KLM partnership with WWF-NL

·         Air France reforestation project in partnership with ADF and FFEM in Madagascar

·         KLM partner of Landscape North Holland to support conservation work in the Schiphol region

·         Engagement with various NGOs on animal welfare, sustainable resources and climate policies

Humanitarian and

development NGOs


·         Air France Foundation, Acting for Life, KLM Takes Care partners

·         Employee engagement: Friends of the Air France Foundation, Wings of Support, Aviation without borders (France and NL)

·         Flying Blue Miles donation tool

·         Strategic partnership KLM – UNICEF the Netherlands, principally on Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP)

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

Stakeholder engagement plays a major part in Air France and KLM’s CSR strategy. Stakeholders are identified as actors that are significantly involved in the two airlines’ activities and who can affect Air France-KLM’s ability to successfully implement its strategy. In 2014, Air France and KLM carried out an integrated materiality process in order to map the material CSR topics related to their business and operations. In this process, amongst others, an external study was conducted seeking the views of various stakeholder groups.

To prioritize and rank the topics, internal and external stakeholder inputs were used. Surveys were conducted amongst employees, customers, corporates and NGOs mainly in France and The Netherlands. These included Air France-KLM Group senior decision makers as well. From the results, a materiality matrix was developed showing the most material aspects for the Group. 28 material aspects were identified including safety, risk management, CO2 reduction, biofuels, sustainable procurement, ethics, human rights. To make the matrix easier to read, these aspects were clustered into the categories: Governance, Environment, Customer Experience, Responsible Human Resources and Local Development.

What actions were taken by Air France-KLM to promote flight safety?

In its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Air France-KLM set the following targets for promoting flight safety, based on the company’s approach to materiality – on taking action on what matters, where it matters:

  • Adhering to international aviation safety standards

All of the Group’s businesses are subject to extensive controls and certification. They meet extremely strict standards and the highest level of regulations in the industry, at European level with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and globally with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), whose IOSA operational safety audit is a standard for the industry. Following the IOSA safety audit in September 2014 and January 2015, Air France and KLM were IOSA re-certified for a further two years.

  • Upgrading and updating Air France and KLM’s Safety Management Systems (SMS)

To achieve the highest attainable standard of flight safety, both airlines have been in the process of upgrading and updating their respective Safety Management Systems (SMS). The SMS deals specifically with risk management in aviation. It is comprehensively integrated into the organization, processes and culture of the company and is validated at the highest level of management within the Group and by training and awareness building initiatives among staff members. Air France’s Integrated Management System (IMS) covers the following domains: flight safety, health and occupational safety, quality of service, operational performance, environment, food safety and security. It analyzes and manages risks in an orchestrated approach. The IMS ensures safe performance, transverse consistency, continuous improvement, global management, for all processes within these domains. KLM’s Integrated Safety Management System (ISMS) covers the domains of operational safety, occupational safety, operational security and environmental safety. ISMS provides a framework for continuously reducing safety risks in all these domains to an acceptable level of safety. In 2014 KLM was successfully audited on the ISMS by the Dutch Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

  • Promoting a culture of safety

The safety of operations rests upon a shared commitment to rigor, vigilance, individual responsibility and mutual trust. Employees play a key role in the system, which involves a continuous cycle of improvement. Air France and KLM promote a safety culture, encouraging employees to report possible unsafe situations, incidents or accidents, making sure no action is taken against employees who report or are involved in a safety occurrence or hazard. To maintain the highest level of staff skills, the Group constantly improves its training programs and implements crisis prevention plans. Communication and promotion are key in building a safety culture. In 2014, three Flight Safety workshops, based on the re-enactment of a real event, brought together over 700 employees from all Air France divisions. KLM issues SafetyF@cts and e-newsletters to inform managers and employees on safety-related topics and safety principles. Safety Champions ensure awareness and inspire safe employee behavior in all divisions.

  • Protecting customers, employees and assets through the Group’s security procedures

The Group’s security procedures aim to protect customers, employees and assets (aircraft, facilities and IT systems). This includes various measures such as risk analysis of Air France-KLM’s business and operations and the systematic inspection of aircraft, passengers, baggage, cargo and employees. These procedures, which are subject to strict regulation, are carried out with a constant concern for the privacy of passengers and employees. To ensure the highest level of protection for their customers and employees in over 100 countries and 200 cities, Air France and KLM’s security departments constantly monitor international geopolitical developments. Dedicated teams are responsible for ensuring continuous flight operations and where necessary, for implementing additional security measures.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:

1) G4-14: Report whether and how the precautionary approach or principle is addressed by the organization and the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 102-11 Precautionary Principle or approach

2) G4-PR1: Percentage of significant product and service categories for which health and safety impacts are assessed for improvement – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 416-1 Assessment of the health and safety impacts of product and service categories



1) This case study is based on published information by Air France-KLM, located at the links below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the following links: (June 2016)




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