Sustainable travel has become a hot topic over the last few years. As the health of the planet has become a global concern, sustainable travel is a goal and responsibility for all of us, from travel providers to travelers themselves, to reduce or eliminate their carbon emissions and other practices that have harmful environmental impacts.
Organizations are feeling pressure to prove they’re making strides to minimize their carbon footprint. You may have been tasked to implement an eco-friendly travel program in your organization. We understand this may feel like a daunting task and you may not know where to start. To inspire you, we have highlighted below what different players in the business travel industry are doing to ensure that we continue to have a beautiful, healthy planet to explore.
Travel Supplier Action
Airlines have led the charge in the travel industry’s commitment to sustainable travel. United, American and Delta have all publicly shared their goals for carbon neutrality in coming years. These initiatives include reduction and elimination of carbon emissions, waste and elimination of single-use plastic products. Some airlines have also appointed leaders within their companies solely dedicated to growing their sustainability programs.
Similarly, hotels are invested in an eco-friendly future by reducing water usage, removing single use plastics, investing in natural, sustainable materials in guest rooms, reducing the amount of animal products on menus and investing in locally sourced items.
Rental car companies are also taking it upon themselves to implement sustainability through ride-share programs for businesses and individual travelers. Riding together with co-workers creates less pollution therein reducing their carbon footprint. In addition, rental car companies are ensuring their fleet relies more on renewable fuels, offering more efficient vehicles including electric and hybrid.
Although Travel Management Companies (TMCs) may not seem to have as much impact in sustainable travel as airlines or other travel suppliers, they certainly play an important role in the initiatives of their clients.
As companies get back to travel, many are taking their carbon footprint seriously. Your TMC can help you grow awareness and set goals around your company’s sustainability plan by sharing CO2 reports for your travel. Once you have the data in hand, your TMC can also consult with you on future, long-lasting initiatives.
TMCs also have the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets to help reduce overall footprints.
While it’s tempting to leave responsibility to the big companies whose initiatives can make a more visible impact, we all have opportunities to make small changes on an individual traveler level to contribute to a more Earth-friendly future.
Besides the big picture items like specialized eco-friendly hotels and specific flights, here are some easy-to-achieve small goals that add up quickly:
- Pitch the plastics! Instead of spending money on bottles of water and straws, bring reusable ones. Nearly every airport and hotel has free water stations for you to easily fill up AND it can save you and your company money.
- When possible, walk instead of using a cab. Utilize rideshare with other passengers, and when renting a car, consider electric or at least a smaller vehicle when possible.
- Eat vegetarian or vegan when possible. With livestock accounting nearly 15% of greenhouse gasses, skipping the meat has a massive positive impact on sustainability and contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
- Buy local and fair-trade items when possible and bring a reusable bag for your shopping trips.
Lastly, do your research! Many other great tips can be found across the internet. Here’s a good place to start: New York Times: How to Travel Sustainably.
Never underestimate the positive impact you can have by making even small changes as the travel industry moves towards a more sustainable future. If you’re interested in implementing sustainability initiatives in your travel program, contact Fox today.
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