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Sustainable business travel and IT

Most companies nowadays are more oriented towards sustainability. These companies have already discovered that with some easy changes, great results in sustainability can be achieved. Next step is: sustainable business travel. As many companies still struggle with this step, you’ll read below my 3 tips for sustainable business travel.

As I will emphasize below: sustainable business travels have surprising benefits.

But first…

What is sustainable business travel?

Traveling in general tends to be quite polluting, so business travel is not an exception. However, business traveling can be more ‘excessive’, or not really necessary. Especially as new technological innovations are introduced constantly, alternatives become more reasonable.

So the most sustainable business travel is no travel at all. Of course, we do understand that a business travel in some cases is necessary. In those cases, implementing more sustainable business travel practices is the answer to become more responsible and sustainable as a company. Sustainable business travel is part of a sustainable IT.

It’s all about implementing a few basic strategies.

business class

More sustainable business travel: What can my company do?

I’ll give you three ways in which your company can make business travels more sustainable. Read them and get the ball rolling in your company. The beauty is not to propose to prevent of prohibit business traveling, but rather to propose to follow company standards.

Want to be sustainable? Buy a refurbished device.

More video calls instead of face-to-face contact

For some years already we live in the digital age. Face-to-face contact can in some cases still be important in building trust and a client relationship. However, most meetings and follow-up meetings can perfectly be done with video calls.

And seriously, the functions and innovations in video meeting software nowadays is really good and can perfectly replace face-to-face meetings.

Just think about the time and money the company saves when a business trips are replaced with a simple video meeting? And then multiply this by the number of people traveling to be present at these meetings.

Task: Make a list of all business business trips of your company in the previous year.

  • Looking back on these trips, how many of these trips could’ve been done by video call through Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams?
  • How much money, time and CO2 emissions could’ve been saved by replacing these meetings with video calls?
business traveler

When traveling is necessary, compensate the CO2 emissions

We totally understand that in some cases, business trips are necessary. So in those cases, make the business travels more sustainable by compensating emissions caused by this travel.

Your company can in fact compensate the impact of the business trip on the environment. For example, by:

  • Stay at green hotels
  • Book direct flights
  • Use Flygrn to book your flights and hotels to directly support the environment
  • Avoid high season
  • Use public transport instead of car of taxi
  • Try to combine different business meetings in one trip

Adapt a sustainable travel policy

You know what’s odd about sustainability within a company? Although we adapt a sustainable lifestyle at home, we tend to forget about these principles at work. Somehow, we seem to be stuck within certain work frameworks or we are just to busy to change these not-so-sustainable habits.

Also, sustainable traveling is perceived as being ‘difficult’ of ‘complex’. In many cases people need to be ‘educated’ about sustainable travel to realize it’s really not such a big deal.

In my experience it therefor helps to adapt a company standard concerning business travels. These practises can be communicated throughout the organisation to inform employees about sustainable travels and how these practises can easily be adopted and are really not a big thing.

These are some sustainable business travel practises you can adopt in your company:

  • Book a direct flight, or as direct as possible. Extra take-offs and landings a way more polluting.
  • Have a company airline that serves most destinations and has sustainability policies. Employees should prefer to book flights with this airline.
  • Book a hotel near your meeting(s), so you can walk towards the meeting(s).
  • Always prefer a green hotel with green credentials.
  • Choose to walk as much as possible, or hire a bike at the hotel.
  • When you need to hire a car, always hire an electric or hybrid car.
  • Travel light.
  • Use digital tickets, confirmations, forms and documentation instead of printing.
  • Always compensate the CO2 emissions of your flight.
  • In hotel: reuse towels, turn off lights, tv and air-conditioning when leaving the room.
  • Eat local food in local establishments to support the local economy.
  • The company supports possible extra costs for compensating CO2 emissions, booking a hotel near meeting location, booking a green hotel and booking an electric/hybrid car! So don’t worry about extra costs of traveling sustainably.
sustainable travel

Benefits of sustainable business travel

Many companies are implementing these sustainable business traveling policies. They recognise the importance of sustainable travel. It works for them. They reduce their company’s carbon footprint, but additionally they cut costs by working more efficiently.