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Sustainability is one of those phrases that has been popping up all over the place, from every corner of the globe. But it is more than a fad. Governments, institutions, and organisations around the world are rising up to the urgent task of mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. 

According to the findings of a sustainability study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), sustainability is already a top concern among businesses globally. Notably, 89% of the survey respondents claim that their company already prioritises sustainability, although only 14% believe that the business travel industry is advanced in eco-friendly initiatives. This shows that there is still much room for growth. This begins with having a team in place responsible for implementing corporate sustainability programs, of which 80% of business travel managers already report their companies to have. 

In any case, sustainability is a journey as much as it’s a destination, and it requires consistently making choices that favour our environment. In business travel, this means choosing eco-friendly travel suppliers as well as opting for less carbon-emitting travel methods. In this article, we take a closer look at three practical ways you can start implementing sustainable measures into your business travel policy.

Eco-friendly travel suppliers

For business travellers, the most important consideration for hotels is convenience. They need to be able to reach their destinations quickly and easily. Yet this often means that they don’t have time to research the environmental impact of their lodging choices.

However, the facts show that the hospitality industry is a major carbon emitter globally and this is a major concern for business travellers who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, for many businesses, hotels inclusive, sustainability is no more than a marketing gimmick to endear more customers to their brand without making meaningful contributions to reducing carbon emissions. Therefore, even when a hotel makes claims about sustainability, it’s worth investigating whether it does what it says so you don’t fall for greenwashing

Genuinely eco-friendly hotels are marked by features such as energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, renewable power sources, and efficient recycling policies. To determine if a hotel is eco-friendly, it must have a sustainability code of conduct that permeates all its operations. In fact, such hotels typically engage in sustainability education for guests to encourage visitors to adhere to eco-friendly practices while lodging. 

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

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Aviation is one of the most notoriously carbon-emitting industries. Yet, despite the COVID-19 pandemic slowing international business travel, there were no doubts that it’ll make a return, only concerns about how sustainable the future will be. Hence, adopting a blanket policy that eliminates air transport for business travellers is an impracticable mission. What is more attainable for travel managers to opt for eco-friendly airlines, of which the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is critical. 

It is understandable that governments, as well as aviation companies and stakeholder organisations, have bigger roles to play in spreading the use of SAF globally. And there is some progress being made in this regard. Back in February 2022, 35 European countries, as well as various aviation stakeholders, came together to sign the Toulouse Declaration on future sustainability and decarbonisation of aviation, which has now been endorsed by the GBTA

One of the key measures to decarbonise air travel by 2050, as the declaration hopes, is to slowly phase out conventional jet fuels for SAF. Sustainability experts and advocates all admit that decarbonising entirely is better than simply offsetting carbon emissions. Thus, airlines that use sustainable aviation fuel are taking faster and more efficient steps toward reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. 

Land travel

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One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint on a business trip is by taking a train or using road transportation instead of flying. The reason for this shift is simple – more and more people are becoming aware of the environmental impact that air travel has on the planet. 

Consider the following data: travelling to Madrid from London by train will cost 43kg in CO2 emissions per passenger, whereas the same distance by plane adds up to 118kg per passenger. Traditional diesel cars often cost a similar amount of carbon emissions as aeroplanes. However, that depends on factors such as the number of passengers. If a one-passenger car trip will cost 171g in carbon emissions, the same trip shared by four people is only 43g per passenger. 

These data show that travelling by train (especially if electric) is more sustainable than air travel. In addition, business travellers carpooling do better for the environment than air travel. Rather than booking a flight, consider what’s available on the ground. Trains are a great option for long-distance travel. They are comfortable, convenient and environmentally friendly. If you are looking at the shorter distance, there are many other options for road transport like buses or carpooling. 

A greener future for business travel

Determining eco-friendly travel choices, many sustainability-focused businesses have transport management companies organise their corporate travel schedules towards their green objectives. Book a demo or sign up for a free trial to discover how TruTrip can enable your company’s travel to be more climate-friendly. 

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