Blog‎ > ‎BST Blogs‎ > ‎

6 ways to reduce your business travel carbon footprint

posted 20 Aug 2016, 14:08 by John Breach   [ updated 20 Aug 2016, 14:12 ]

As more and more businesses are measuring their total carbon footprint, the focus of attention is moving towards business travel. The impact of travel depends on the nature of the business itself. Consultants PwC reported that “Business travel remains our single largest generator of carbon emissions, and – as we’ve continued to reduce our emissions from energy - has grown to represent 70% of our total carbon footprint in 2015. Air travel accounts for most of this (59% of our total emissions) making it a top sustainability priority.”

Business travel is often necessary to build strong relationships with customers and clients but is also a significant business cost and can put a strain on employees’ home lives. Your approach for reducing travel emissions should involve reducing the number of journeys made and choosing the lowest carbon-intensive method of transport. Why not set yourselves some targets and monitor your progress?

Here are our six issues to consider in order to reduce carbon footprint of travel in your business:

  1. Examine the travel culture in your organisation. Is it a perk which you enjoy or a necessary part of your job which you would happily forgo if there was an alternative?

  2. Do you need to be involved at that event all? Could senior/junior colleagues who are already travelling to the event complete the work on their own? Could you be more usefully employed staying in the office?

  3. If you have to be involved, is it essential that you travel at the planned time? Could the meeting be rescheduled to a time when everyone will be in the same location anyway, even if it means a short delay in reaching a decision?

  4. How many of you and your colleagues need to travel? If numbers are greater than 1 or 2 would it be sensible to share a car or hire a minibus? Could you join-forces with other businesses located near by? Shared vehicles, even if fossil-fuel powered, can be the lowest-carbon options in these circumstances. Even better if they are electric.

  5. Can Information Communication Technology offer an alternative to travelling at all? Is face to face interaction vital in this case? If you are collaboration on a document, spreadsheet or presentation, then file sharing technologies such as Office 365 or Google Apps can be more productive than a meeting room. Do all the parties have video conferencing equipment, or could you easily hire a nearby facility?

  6. If you really must make that journey choose the lowest carbon option. Normally this is rail rather than road or air. Even if rail appears slower and more expensive than air travel, consider the useful work you could do during the journey, the time (and carbon) used in getting from City Centre(s) to Airport(s), and the hassle of airport security. Perhaps revise your company’s policy on First Class rail travel to ensure a good productive working environment during the journey, with access to Wifi etc.