12 tips on how to make business travel greener

Sustainable business travel has become a pressing issue in our current times. The concept revolves around minimizing the carbon footprint of travel by adopting eco-friendly transportation and accommodation options. It is now more essential than ever for companies to prioritize and promote sustainable practices to reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Why is sustainable travel so important?

As our population grows, sustainable practices are crucial. We have had the opportunity to live in a world where fresh water, clean air, and healthy food are things we don’t have to worry about. Yet, this is not the case for people living in other parts of the world. Some people have to struggle everyday to obtain the things we take for granted. 

By living sustainably, we can reduce pollution and conserve natural resources such as water and energy, providing a positive environmental impact. We can work toward creating more jobs for people and a better future for the whole planet if we just make smarter choices.

So, here are some of the small things you could do that will have a positive effect on the health and happiness of the world.

1. Select your travel providers carefully

When planning your business travels, opt for travel providers who offer sustainable options that can benefit both you and your company. These providers should give you information about environmentally-friendly choices, such as eco-friendly hotels and transportation options that have lower carbon emissions.

For an even greater sustainable impact, consider working with local tour operators at your destination. They have insider knowledge about how to minimize the environmental impact of your trip while maximizing the social benefits to the local communities. By choosing these providers, you can ensure that your business travel leaves a positive impact on the environment and the people around you.

2. Don’t print your travel documents

Digital tools have revolutionized the way we travel, providing a simple and effective means of going paperless. With e-tickets and online bookings, printing out boarding passes and tickets is a thing of the past. By downloading tickets onto your smartphones or laptops, you can mitigate the risks of losing important documents during travel. And it’s not just about saving paper – we’re also making a positive impact on the environment. Trees are critical to paper production, and by using less paper, we’re reducing the demand for wood and helping preserve forests and wildlife habitats. It’s a win-win situation.

3. Choose direct flights and avoid business class

When it comes to air travel, the type of flight you choose can have a significant impact on the amount of carbon emission generated. Direct flights, which cover shorter distances and require fewer takeoffs and landings, typically result in fewer carbon emissions compared to connecting flights. The World Bank has conducted a study that indicates that Business class passengers may generate three times as many emissions as Economy class passengers. This is because Business class seats take up more space in the cabin and are therefore heavier, which requires more fuel consumption to move the plane.

4. Behave responsibly in hotels

When it comes to eco-friendly accommodation, it’s important to look beyond just the label of being “green” or “sustainable.” Each accommodation is limited in what they can do based on various factors such as location and country laws. Therefore, it’s crucial to look for accommodations that actively try to lessen their impact on the environment in different ways. This can include limiting energy and water consumption, reducing waste production, using renewable energy, promoting environmental education, contributing profits to green charities, and using recycled and locally-sourced products. 

If you can’t find eco-friendly accommodation that meets your needs, it’s still possible to make eco-friendly choices during your stay. For example, don’t ask for fresh linens or towels if you don’t really need them. These small choices can still make a difference in reducing our impact on the environment.

5. Use an electric car to travel around

Hiring an electric car for your business travel is an excellent way to make your journeys more sustainable. By choosing an electric car, you’ll be reducing your carbon emissions which directly contributes to the environment’s degradation. 

Not only is it great for the environment, but it can also save you money on petrol costs too! With charging stations increasingly common, you won’t have to worry about running out of battery either. There are also apps available that can help you locate charging stations near you, so you can plan your journey with ease.

6. Use car-sharing apps and public transport

Another alternative to renting a car is using car-sharing apps like Uber, Lyft, or Grab. taking public transport is a great option. It’s not only eco-friendly, but it’s also a convenient way to get around without the stress of driving in unfamiliar places. Plus, by sharing a ride with others, you can further reduce your emissions and also save money. When you use public transport, you have the chance to meet the locals and find information about the city you are in that only they can provide. 

7. Take a train and enjoy the view

It’s important to consider the mode of transportation you will take. If your destination is not too far away, opting to travel by train instead of taking a flight can be an excellent choice. Train travel offers a more relaxed and comfortable experience compared to air travel, with comfortable seating and more legroom.

Additionally, if you have an extra day or two after your business meetings, taking a train provides an opportunity to explore the area you’re visiting. Many train stations are located in the heart of cities or towns, making it easy to access popular tourist attractions. Plus, many train routes offer scenic views of the countryside or coastline.

8. Reduce plastic waste

Avoiding single-use plastics can be easily accomplished by bringing a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. Not only will this minimize your plastic waste, but it can also save you money by not having to purchase bottled water. Many hotels and restaurants now offer water refill stations, and you can also use an app to find refill spots in your area. 

Another plastic-free alternative to consider is a foldable, reusable coffee cup. These can be easily packed in your luggage and used for your caffeine cravings on the go. By making these simple changes to your travel routine, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills and oceans.

9. Reduce, reuse, recycle

Always remember the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Reducing your use of single-use plastics is the first step towards a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. So, the next time you pack your bags, remember to carry your refillable containers for toiletries and say goodbye to those pesky disposable bottles. Not only will this reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate, but it will also save you some money in the long run.

Another easy way to cut down on plastic waste is by carrying a tote bag instead of using plastic bags. These handy little bags are not only reusable but also fashionable. You can even get one with your company’s logo on it to show off your sustainable side to your colleagues.

But wait, there’s more! Recycling is also an essential part of the three R’s. Make sure you dispose of your waste responsibly by separating your plastics from other materials. Many hotels and airports now have recycling bins, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

10. Skip the things you don’t really need

Let’s talk about the art of skipping things you don’t really need during business travel. Now, picture this: you’re packing your bags for your next work trip and you start to panic because you want to bring everything but the kitchen sink. Stop right there! Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you don’t need those fancy shoes that you’ve worn once in three years. Your feet will thank you for it.

And that hair dryer that takes up half of your luggage space? You can use the hotel’s dryer. Oh, and that extra suit jacket? Unless you plan on attending a black-tie event with the President, you’re good without it. The point is, be efficient with your packing and skip unnecessary items. If everyone would back fewer things they do not need, the plane would use less fuel to carry you all around.

11. Eat local fruit, vegetables, and meals

Did you know that food production accounts for 26% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions? And that’s not all – transport, packaging, and processing also contribute to 6% of emissions from wealthy countries. But there’s good news – choosing local, seasonal food can significantly lower your carbon footprint. By supporting small businesses, you’re not only helping to stimulate the local economy but also doing your part in reducing emissions. 

And remember: when you travel to a foreign country is always more fun to try foods you don’t normally have access to. Local and traditional food makes the experience more exciting, whether you try fruit and vegetables that don’t usually grow in the area you live in or food cooked by locals using classic recipes.

12. Create a green travel policy

Building a sustainable travel policy for your company is a vital step towards reducing your environmental impact and contributing to a more sustainable future. As a company owner or employee with great ideas, you can take a proactive approach by analyzing the company’s current practices and identifying areas where improvements can be made. This could involve choosing more environmentally friendly modes of transportation, such as cycling or public transport, or opting for eco-friendly accommodations and activities.

After a sustainable trip, it’s important to share the experience and conclusions with colleagues, highlighting the benefits of making more sustainable choices and encouraging others to do the same. By working together and committing to a sustainable travel policy, your company can make a significant difference in reducing its carbon footprint and promoting a more eco-friendly future.

And there you have it! With these 12 tips, you can make your business travel greener and more sustainable. By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can make a positive impact on the environment and create a better future for all. Remember, small changes can make a big difference, and together, we can make a significant impact on the world. So, let’s start packing our bags, traveling sustainably, and exploring the world with a greener mindset.

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