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Top Tips for Sustainable Business Travel

For many businesses, sustainability is front of mind right now and something they’re striving to incorporate more into business planning and operations. One area where many firms don’t do as much as they could, though, is in corporate travel.

You might take many measures to make your office greener, but if you ignore some steps you can take when your employees are off-site, you’ll find it tough to hit your sustainability targets. Read on for ways you can get your team taking more earth-friendly trips in the future.

Create Travel Policies for Your Organization

Start by developing set travel policies for your organization relating to sustainability. For example, you might get your team members to only ever choose electric hire cars rather than gas-using ones or replace short flights with train or bus trips to cut down on your company’s carbon footprint.

You might make all travel bookings digitally and send itineraries online rather than accumulating many paper printouts and ask all employees to walk to meetings and other destinations where possible when away or to utilize public transport. A car-sharing app can also be a handy tool for booking a more sustainable car hire option.

If you set clear eco targets for your firm and encourage employees to get involved in creating and upholding a company travel policy, this can go a long way to “greening up” your annual results. It’s also worth considering putting an incentive program in place as part of your policy, whereby you reward and celebrate those workers who make the most carbon-conscious choices while away for work.

Choose More Direct Routes Where Possible

Sometimes there isn’t a choice, but where you have one, try to pick out direct routes for your team to take with their flights. Non-stop options are shorter, use fewer resources (because of not taking off and landing multiple times), and are thus better for the environment.

Work with airline partners or a travel management company, if you use one, to negotiate the best possible deals on direct flights and, if you can, send your staff members to destinations where you know that direct routes are possible.

Select Greener Hotels

One of the big things you can do to make your company’s corporate travel more sustainable is to book yourself and your team into greener hotels. When developing vendor relationships to help you cut costs as part of an enterprise travel management policy, ask providers about their sustainability targets and implementation. Learn what they’re doing now to operate in a more eco-friendly way and what they’re developing for the future to cut emissions and otherwise help the planet.

Many lodging providers mention this kind of information on their website, but if you can’t find the details you need, or don’t see enough data to help you make your decision, don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Look for hotels and the like that offer organic cotton linen, use local produce or grow their own where possible, have solar panels, use reclaimed or otherwise more sustainable materials, and cut back on water use and waste as much as they can.

You can also find out if lodgers are part of a sustainable accommodation network or business group. For instance, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) makes accommodation providers meet numerous strict criteria before obtaining certification. Another option is LEED-certified hotels. Operators in this group follow green practices as laid out by the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) rating system.

Offset Your Firm’s Carbon Footprint

You might also like to offset your firm’s carbon footprint each year. You can pay money to various organizations that will finance energy-efficient projects around the world, such as generating renewable energy or planting trees. Give back to the environment for every ton of CO2 your venture emits, and feel better about your impact on the planet.

Many carbon offset calculators exist online that you can use to calculate how much to give back annually based on how much travel your team does.

Train Your Employees to Make More Sustainable Decisions While Traveling for Work

Another way to ensure your business operates more sustainably regarding travel is to train your employees to make better decisions when they’re away. For example, get them to take reusable water bottles with them rather than continually buying single-use plastics. (You might encourage this choice by reimbursing them for purchasing their bottle.) They can also avoid other plastic use and recycle goods while away.

Encourage workers to support local communities and ventures by eating locally wherever they can, such as through picking cafes and restaurants that source produce from nearby or grow their own. Staff members can also keep their showers short to save water and turn air-conditioning and heating units off when they leave their accommodation to save unnecessary power usage. A picture containing indoor, bottle, blender, tableware

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There are many ways to create a more sustainable business this year and beyond, so follow the tips above to take steps today.

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