Is it possible to make business trips more environmentally acceptable? Though business travel is essential for the growth of your company, several trips each year can have a considerable impact on the health of our planet. But we can all work to improve the situation by making better choices.
173g of CO2 emitted/km from people travelling by plane, 150g/km by private cars, 2g/km from people travelling by train. Every business trip, whether long or short, dumps its share of pollution
on our planet. This is an increasingly recognised fact in travel policy, particularly since the COP 21 Paris Agreement in 2015. In 2016, Carlson Wagonlit Travel published its annual ‘Responsible Business’ report
, outlining the impact of business trips. The report revealed that indirect emissions, combining business trips and work commutes, were the cause of 33,83 tonnes of CO2 in 2014. The good news is that it seems the world of business travel has become aware of this problem: in its ‘International Travel Management 2016’
study, AirPlus revealed that ‘eco-friendly’ business trips arrived in third position in the major trends for 48% of travel managers, behind data protection (54%) and social media (50%).
So, to change attitudes and protect our environment, which initiatives are the easiest to integrate into your travel policy?
To avoid extra journeys and the source of pollution that goes with them, it might be possible to organise your schedule and hold several appointments in the same place. Fewer journeys also means fewer expenses.
When you need to use a car, try to be more responsible by sharing a taxi or opting to car share. A good tip: some car share apps are specifically dedicated to business travel, such as Karos and Karzoo in Europe. If you have to hire a vehicle, choose a company that renews its vehicle fleet regularly so it has the least polluting cars on the market. For example, major hire companies like Europcar
are providing more and more 100% electric vehicles.
Weight also increases the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. So for greener travel, you should only take what’s necessary, hiring equipment at your destination where possible. It’s a small gesture, but one that counts in the long term.
Human interaction is essential when creating partnerships, signing contracts, etc., so video conferences are not always the ideal solution. However, they can be practical for in-house meetings. The effects could be significant: replacing 20% of business trips with video conferences would mean an annual equivalent saving of approximately 25 million tonnes of CO2.
In Europe, as in the rest of the world, many hotels are now committed to an environmentally friendly charter. For example, the Green Key
label is present in 57 countries and recognises hotels that have promised to protect the environment in the way they manage their waste, emissions and en-ergy, as well as in raising awareness among their employees. This is also the case for the Ac-corHotels Group, which launched its Planet 21
programme in 2011 as a pledge to eco design in its hotels, as well as healthy and sustainable food products.
Finally, generally try to rethink your choices and opt for transport solutions that pollute less. A comparator
may offers a great guide.