How Your Company Can Reduce its Carbon Footprint
Buzz words like “sustainability”, “corporate responsibility” and “ecotourism” have been around for some time now, particularly since the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which effectively committed almost every country on Earth to reduce its emissions.
As more and more people recognize the critical need to protect Earth’s resources and reduce our carbon footprint, combining sustainability and travel — eco-travel — is becoming a priority for corporations, realizing that corporate travel in particular has a significant impact on the environment. Organizations ranging in size from startups to large, publicly-held corporations have taken note of the fact that even minor improvements can drastically reduce their carbon footprint — and improve their bottom line.
Here’s a closer look at what exactly “green” business travel means, why companies should care, and how it can be implemented.
While the definitive parameters are frequently debated, sustainability can best be defined as fulfilling the needs of the present generation while not compromising future generations’ ability to meet their needs. In other words, maintaining well-being for extended periods of time relies heavily on the well-being of our natural environment and its natural resources.
The three pillars of sustainability include:
- Economic – Profit
- Social – People
- Environmental – Planet
How Sustainability Relates to Business Travel
There are obvious benefits to creating a more environmentally-friendly corporate travel program, such as cutting down waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Companies are learning that green business travel is often synonymous with cost-effective business travel.
Consider this: USA Today looked at six of the most popular business flight routes in the country (Boston to New York, New York to Washington, D.C., Miami to Tampa, Chicago to St. Louis, San Antonio to Dallas, and San Diego to Los Angeles) and compared the cost of flying versus traveling by train, using popular search tools like Kayak. In all six routes, Amtrak rail travel was significantly less expensive than even the cheapest flight alternative. The train fares ranged from $115 to $435 less than airfare, and that doesn’t take into account baggage fees on planes. Similarly, numerous reports like this one show that using rideshares versus renting a car are typically more economical — often by a considerable amount. When you factor in fuel costs, parking or valet fees, and insurance for rental cars, this makes perfect sense.
The numbers are there, but how can organizations put this to work?
Businesses can Boost Sustainable Travel Efforts
The truth is that the best and most effective way to reduce travel-related emissions is to simply avoid traveling. For many industries, however, business travel is simply not negotiable.
This is particularly true in client-facing industries where relationship-building is critical. However, the means of travel and its frequency can be considered and improved in almost every instance to be more sustainable.
While it may seem daunting to make your organization’s corporate travel more sustainable, the good news is that little changes add up to big results. With Authorizer AI, for example, Trondent’s newest pre-trip authorization platform, we are championing a means of helping businesses replace travel with eco-travel. Our pre-trip authorization platform uses Artificial Intelligence to help employees select better eco-travel choices by calculating a trip’s carbon emissions and offering recommendations or alternatives.
Here are more tips on how your business can implement sustainable corporate travel.
- Put technology to work. With so many digital tools for working remotely available today, companies should encourage more frequent and efficient use. Invest in modern software and other tools that enable your organization to conduct virtual meetings, employees and teams to work together no matter where on Earth they’re located, and managers to check in with clients between more important face-to-face meetings.
- Explore alternatives to flying. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airplanes alone account for 2.5% of the world’s total greenhouse emissions. By contrast, traveling by train releases approximately seven times less the emissions than a plane on the same route. Though this may not be a feasible solution for cross-country trips, it makes perfect sense for regional trips. Plus, rail travel is considerably less expensive than airfare.
- Consider approving more direct flights. For trips that absolutely have to be taken by plane, think direct. There’s no question that flights with layovers are typically more economical, but at a much greater cost to the environment. Emissions are released primarily during takeoff and landing, so avoiding layovers is a far greener choice. Many major airlines have also started publishing their flights’ carbon dioxide emissions to help you make an informed decision.
- Pick environmentally-conscious hotel partners. All Fairmont hotels are LEED-certified, and many have upgraded their roofs to be green. Hilton hotels have dramatically decreased their waste production and water waste in the past several years, while many Marriotts grow their restaurants’ produce onsite. Consider booking exclusively with one of these hotel groups for corporate travel.
- Go green on the ground. Consider offering incentives for employees who opt to take public transportation or rideshares at their destination as opposed to getting a rental car. If a rental car is a must, consider altering your travel policy to allow only for economy, compact, hybrid, or electric vehicles.
With these tips in mind, and the software tools available to assist corporations in making eco-friendly travel decisions, sustainability is within reach. Contact Trondent today to learn more about how Authorizer AI can contribute to your corporate sustainability efforts!