sustainable business travel

3 ways to make business travel sustainable

In recent news, Hotelbeds, a travel tech company based out of Palma, Spain, and operating a hotel distribution platform, announced it has been certified for the second consecutive year as a Carbon Neutral Organisation by Carbon Fooprint Ltd.

What can we learn from Hotelbeds about sustainable business travel?

Given that business travel is one of Hotelbeds’ larger carbon emissions factors, during 2018 the company created a programme whereby a small fee is charged per business flight taken by employees. This money is then used to finance the carbon neutral project and also forms part of a desire to encourage a reduction in travel and increase company and employee awareness around the importance of carbon offsetting.

This is just one of the few strategies companies are implementing to incorporate more sustainable business travel practices. (address sustainability in travel.) And new developments in technology, particularly communications, is aiding this objective. 

What can your company do to make business travel more sustainable? 

Here are three ways, your company, big or small, that can get the ball rolling in making travel a lot more sustainable.

  • Focus on replacing face-to-face contact with video conferencing

sustainable business travel

The convenience made possible by tech just cannot be ignored any longer. 

It’s a good start, based on practices currently followed, to check the number of employee business trips over the previous year. Then put together thoughts on how many of those could have been combined together, or even done via Skype, Google Hangouts, or any of the tech making possible video conferencing.

  • When air travel is a must, offset that with the places stayed at or the time of travel

sustainable business travel

Now of course, there are bound to be instances where employees are required to travel by air. So your organization can offset the impact of such travel in a number of ways which can include:

  • Stay at green hotels or rental homes
  • Avoiding the peak season
  • Use only public transport at the destination of travel
  • Direct flights generally in place of connecting ones

Ofcourse, this does require some amount of homework and research. But it’s worth the effort

  • Have a “Sustainable travel policy” in place

sustainable business travel

Sustainable business travel can’t occur in isolation. Organisations need to reinforce broader practices. And this involves regular communication across the organization – informing employees of green travel and how it can be adopted in an easy manner. Often people are intimidated that travelling green may require a massive overhaul in their lifestyle during the trip. But that’s most often not the case. There needs to be a concerted effort to educate them on little things like

  • Travel light
  • Use of the air-conditioning at the place of stay
  • Chose to walk as much as possible
  • Use digital tickets, hotel confirmations and itineraries
  • Choose a hotel with green credentials
  • Pick a hotel located near your meeting or event to reduce travel
  • In hotels: reuse towels, turn lights off
  • Choose restaurants with local food, local wine or beer. In that way you reduce food miles and support the local economy. 
  • If possible hire an electric or hybrid car, when needed (Here a useful source to find more such tips) 

It is important to understand here that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. 

So what are the benefits from sustainable business travel?

There are loads of companies, which have been awakening to the realization on the importance of sustainable travel. And it’s working well for them, not just in leaving a lesser CO2 footprint, but it’s cutting costs and increasing efficiencies. 

What has your company been doing to make business travel more sustainable? Let us know in the comment section! 

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