Thursday 6 February 2020

*GUEST BLOG* Changes in the way we travel can help reduce the impact on the planet

Air travel underpins the business travel industry. Each trip – whether it’s a transatlantic flight for a week-long conference or a day spent flying back and forth from London to Glasgow – generates carbon emissions. Every trip can therefore swiftly increase your company’s carbon footprint. That London to Glasgow return trip for example, generates an estimated 75kg of carbon dioxide per traveller.

Whilst aviation isn’t the biggest culprit when it comes to carbon emissions, with carbon dioxide emitted from planes representing 2% of all global man-made carbon emissions (livestock accounts for 14.5-18%, electricity and heat for 31%), that’s no excuse to be complacent. If air travel continues to grow as predicted, it could contribute to a considerably higher proportion by 2050.

The greenest thing to do would be not to fly at all, but this isn’t always possible – especially when it comes to business. We know that often contracts need to be signed in person, clients need to be met face-to-face and sometimes, the only way to familiarise yourself with a new market is to explore the area yourself.

However, there are things you can do to lessen your impact on the planet and that of your company. Here are a few tips to consider the next time you board a plane – whether for business or pleasure:

Travel light - the more weight a plane has, the more fuel it has to use. Every kilogram saved means 80 metric tonnes less CO² pumped out by that plane each year. Depending on the length of your trip, maybe you could manage with carry-on baggage? If you need to check a bag, pack as light as possible.

Choose a ‘greener’ airline - no airline offers completely zero-carbon flights at present, but when looking at flight options, check out airlines’ green credentials. Some operate more fuel-efficient planes than others. For example, British Airways has 18 new aircraft, which are up to 20% more efficient; Cathay Pacific is aiming for 50% reduction in net CO2 emissions by 2050.

Fly direct - since planes burn the most fuel during take-off, limiting the number of flights you take by choosing direct routes is an easy way to reduce emission levels.

Use a local airport - getting to the airport adds emissions to the trip. Reduce the level of emissions by flying from the closest airport and use public transport or electric cabs/hire cars for transfers if possible.

Zero-waste – reduce the amount of waste you produce on a trip. Instead of single-use items like water bottles, coffee cups and cutlery, could you use reusable alternatives? Avoid printing travel documents by storing them on your mobile.

Offsetting Emissions - one of the biggest ways a business can decrease the size of its carbon footprint is by “offsetting” its emissions. The money is then invested in environmental projects, such as planting trees, sponsoring carbon neutral projects or installing solar panels.

Getting the facts – work with your TMC to ensure booking travel is as cost-effective and as environmentally friendly as possible. Using calculations based on route, carrier, travel type and travel class from our sustainability partner Susterra, Corporate Traveller’s clients receive an in-depth analysis on the CO² emissions generated from their travel programme, with highlighted areas where journeys with a smaller footprint could be made.

This blogpost was written by Andy Hegley, UK General Manager, Corporate Traveller ( Corporate Traveller has produced a White Paper ‘Reducing Carbon Emissions when Flying for Business.’ Register for FREE and visit them on stand B30

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