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Sustainable travel can be a tricky business and tough to do. Given that travel and tourism are responsible for 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, consumers, like business travellers, are becoming increasingly concerned about the industry’s negative impact. Over the past couple of decades, people have become more aware of the environmental and social impacts of air travel, over-tourism, and the development of tourist infrastructure in ecologically sensitive areas. 

A recent survey by Global Business Travel Recovery showed an increase in travel return, especially over recent weeks and months. According to GBTA’s global data, more companies allow their employees to travel domestically and internationally. Bookings and travel spending are on the rise, and optimism and employee willingness to travel for business are high. 

GTBA’s survey of 762 travel buyers and suppliers worldwide found that most travel professionals prioritize sustainability. Still, only a small percentage believe that the travel industry is currently “well advanced” in its efforts to reduce environmental impacts. 

Despite the rise in travel rates, recent trends in the future of travel show a growing emphasis on sustainability in business travel, both in terms of corporate social responsibility and day-to-day operations; sustainable travel became a hot topic in the industry before the coronavirus pandemic’s start. As the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda draws nearer, more people are realizing that the environmental impacts of travel can be substantially reduced by implementing environmentally-friendly travel practices.  

It’s a good time to look at how we can help meet as we enter the final ten years of our deadline. For the SDGs to be achieved, people constantly going on business trips have a critical role in climate change and environmental impact. Sustainable travel is all about making simple decisions to reduce the environmental impact. Together, we can make a great difference by becoming more aware of these small details.

Supporting companies and initiatives that are dedicated to sustainability is one of the ways to make significant changes in the industry. Changes in how you travel are also necessary to reduce your carbon footprint. As a result, these are a few simple practices to incorporate into your travels to make a positive difference.

Before your trip

You can reduce your carbon footprint by preparing your trip thoughtfully in advance. Here are some eco-friendly travel suggestions regarding the importance of travel and the desire to reduce one’s impact on the environment.

1. Choosing your flight

  • Direct flights: First and foremost, look for direct flights. Connecting flights requires you to travel a longer distance. Carbon dioxide emissions will rise as a result of this.
  • Make multiple appointments in a row. You will save money and time by combining a few meetings instead of making separate trips. You’ll also save money and time by driving less.
  • Select a more environmentally friendly airline: The airline you fly with makes a significant difference, as does the date and time of your trip. 
  • Instead of paper tickets, use electronic ones. Having your phone scanned at airports and train stations is usually simple.
  • Deciding on a seat for a flight: There are environmental benefits to taking a different seat. In other words, business class seats take up a lot more room than economy class seats, which means they’re more polluting.

2. Preparing your luggage

  • As a traveller, the contents of your suitcase have a significant impact on the world around you. According to WWF research, more than 95% of all waste entering the Mediterranean Ocean is made up of plastic.
  • Limiting the amount of plastic in your luggage is easy to help the environment. Use a bamboo toothbrush, get rid of plastic ones, and use solid toiletries instead of liquid ones.
  • Take along a reusable bottle that can be refilled with water or other beverages.
  • Pack a reusable bag to use while shopping or for other purposes.
  • Bring reusable bamboo cutlery and coffee cups to help reduce your use of single-use plastics.

3. Booking your hotel accommodation

  • Choose Green Hotels: The hospitality sector generates a lot of trash and uses many resources; thus, companies should only book sustainable hotels. Truly green hotels focus on building design and efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction.
  • To avoid unnecessary linen washing, vacuuming, and other cleaning chemicals, leave the ‘do not disturb sign on the handle of the door of the hotel room.
  • You should unplug all of the electronic devices in your hotel room as soon as you get there, including any lamps, televisions, etc. Even when not in use, appliances continue to consume energy.
  • Take any unfinished hotel toiletries with you, as they are usually discarded. The plastic bottles are the ideal size for travel and may be reused.
  • Reduce the single-use of those tiny hotel bottles by bringing your toiletries (and toothbrush).
efforts to carbon offset for more sustainable business travel

During your trip

Leave no trace; make it appear as if you never set foot in the place you’re visiting. Isn’t being a good house guest what you want to achieve? The same should be said of our travel experience.

1. Deciding on your mode of land transportation

  • Compared to other modes of transportation, flying emits the most carbon dioxide per passenger. Consider taking the bus or train whenever possible and do some sightseeing while we’re at it.
  • If you must travel by plane, opt for a non-stop flight. In addition to saving time, a direct flight is always more environmentally friendly.
  • Using public transit helps to reduce pollution and traffic congestion. The number of cars on the road is reduced when people take public transportation, and less carbon dioxide is discharged into the atmosphere.
  • It’s better for the environment and less expensive to travel slowly. For example, using the train instead of driving is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
  • Rent a hybrid or electric vehicle if you must get behind the wheel. 

2. Being an eco-friendly guest

  • Support the local economy by buying from them; this way, the local economy is strengthened. There is less need for long-distance shipping, less packing, and more jobs with local products.
  • It’s crucial always to keep the host communities in mind and show them respect. You are welcome as a guest.
  • Instead of taking a bath, take showers. Showers use 10-25 gallons of water than 70 gallons for a bath.
  • Recycle any used tourist materials such as maps, brochures, and other paraphernalia so that future visitors can enjoy them.

3. Choosing where to eat

  • Freshness is ensured by eating local food, and local businesses also gain. Food grown locally does not need to be transported; thus, it is fresh and nutritious. Furthermore, consuming locally produced foods benefits the local economy by creating employment and revenue in a community.
  • Select Plant-Based Alternatives: many environmentally conscious visitors agree that animals should not be harmed for recreational purposes. However, when it comes to what to eat, they turn a blind eye. However, you can’t discuss how to travel sustainably without discussing what you eat for three meals a day.
  • If you’re dining out for a business event, keep in mind how much you’re ordering and how you’ll get it home if necessary. 
trains as an alternative mode of transportation for sustainable business travel

After your trip

Achieving sustainable business travel is not a one-size-fits-all solution and there’s no foolproof approach to it. There’s always room to do better for the environment. After your trip, take time to reflect on things you did well and areas for improvement. Using an integration like Patch makes measuring carbon footprint easier and helps you with carbon offsetting.

As a business owner, consider incorporating environmentally friendly methods into your company’s travel policies. Set specific goals for your “green travel policy,” and urge your workers to participate. As business travellers, remember that once you’ve returned from your trip, your sustainable travel doesn’t end. Adopt what you’ve learned on your trip to your daily routine. While you continue to travel the world on business, there are many things you can do on a personal level to reduce your environmental impact/footprint. 

Ready to go greener?

If sustainable business travel is on your agenda this year, you’re at the right place. Schedule a demo with us or sign up for a free trial to see how TruTrip can take you further.

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