Those of us concerned with sustainability are already aware that air travel is a major contributor to carbon emissions and global warming.
As air travel grows in emerging economies, this problem will continue to worsen.
While the choice to skip plane travel entirely or to employ an alternate means to travel is available when traveling for leisure, traveling for work often requires hopping on a plane — and opting out is not an option.
Here are some actionable steps to travel with a lighter footprint for work travel and beyond:
Watch Your Carbon
If you have to fly for your work trip, see if your work will support offsetting your carbon emissions as a corporate initiative through an organization or a specific airline. If that type of program is not available, consider paying more for a direct flight to your destination over a flight with a layover. Remember that take-off, landing and taxing burns the most fuel.
Need to rent a car for your trip? Consider renting from a vendor that offers carbon offsetting. If you decide to use a rideshare program to get around, consider opting for one that is committed to going fully carbon neutral.
Most car rental companies offer hybrid cars, and many of them are beginning to add electric vehicles to their fleets. These models are more expensive than the typical gas guzzlers, so hopefully your CFO won’t mind the extra spend.
Lastly, keep an eye out for innovations in jet fuel. It might not be too long from now that we can fly clean.
Shrink Your Single Use
Minimize single-use whenever possible by bringing your own, reusable items on your trip. This strategy works for any trip, work or not, and can also be incorporated in your daily life. Some easy ideas include:
This is a no-brainer! Use one at the airport, on the flight (your flight attendants can accommodate this), and during your trip to stay hydrated and reduce single use plastic bottle waste
A double-insulated one works great for both hot and iced drinks that will take you through your entire trip. If you’re concerned about space, a collapsible one packs very lightly. As a further incentive, you will get a discount from major coffee chains like Starbucks and Coffee Bean for using your own mug.
Tip: If you’re ordering food delivery, request — either over the phone or in your food delivery mobile app — that no utensils be included in your order.
BYOB (Not Booze)
Lastly, bringing your own tote bag also falls in the no-brainer category. You won’t need to use plastic bags when you have a reusable bag of your own.
Catch Green ZZZs at Sustainable Lodgings
If you have time in advance and the option, be deliberate about where you decide to stay.
Even if you can’t find a LEED certified hotel, you can make choices such as opting out of daily house cleaning, reusing towels and bringing your own toiletries to minimize unnecessary waste.
Make It Work
While not all of these steps may be doable every time you travel for work, taking one or more can have an impact over time. Just by reading this article, you’re closer to being a more mindful and sustainable business traveler.
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