Steps Towards Sustainable Business
We are stepping out of a year where virtual interactions and video conferences became the new normal for business or company meetings, especially those whose participants lived internationally. With no other options, we embraced virtual connection to get work done, and I think it’s fair to say that, for some, this was actually a breath of fresh air. It can take quite a large toll having to regularly travel for business, not just on the traveler but also on the environment. Even though there has been an increased awareness of how excessive flying can have a negative impact on the environment, business travel has still been increasing by 3-5% annually (pre-pandemic). Yes, we’ve had a year of no travel, but that is quickly changing and as more borders open and more people become vaccinated, it only follows that the number of flights will start to increase again. This begs the question, “What should we do?”
Thankfully, something the global lock-down has shown us is that the planet needs to rest and even heal, and it needs our help to do so. This awareness has certainly impacted how we view personal travel, but we are also seeing companies start to reconsider how and how often they send their employees on business trips.
Flights leave a weighty footprint. One aspect to consider is seeking alternative forms of transportation that may be available. Driving may not be the most practical option if an employee needs to get to the opposite coast, however, if a trip is within 300 miles from their starting point, it may be worth considering just to hop in the car and make a road trip out of it! For those longer distance trips, we urge companies to consider carbon offsetting for any and all flights that are necessary. (We can suggest some reputable options!)
Why stop at flights though? We’ve put together a list of some practical changes that companies can implement for their “away” meetings that will help reduce waste and foster more sustainable business travel practices.
Make recycling available at meetings.
Offer water bottles as a gift to employees to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles during the meeting or conference.
Avoid plastic utensils and plates for refreshments.
Share documents digitally to avoid unnecessary printing.
Turn off lights in conference rooms when not in use.
We know that business travel isn’t going anywhere but we are convinced that it can become more responsible as it resumes. Simple changes can collectively make a huge impact on the environment, and if everyone commits to practicing a few new habits, we are sure to create a foundation of sustainability for generations to come.
For more information about how to carbon offset your next flight, we recommend that you contact us or check out https://sustainabletravel.org/our-work/carbon-offsets/.!