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Danske Bank: If you have to travel – then be climate-friendly
We’re excited to share that Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank wrote a piece on us, and our mission to transform business travel to the better!
September 2021 Denmark's largest bank, Danske Bank, chose to write a piece on us, and our mission to transform business travel to the better. We couldn't be more excited to share it!
N.B. The article is originally written in Danish. This article is a direct translation of the original.
If you have to travel – then be climate-friendly
Written by Danske Bank.
Business travel around the world has almost come to a complete stop during the pandemic and been largely replaced by online meetings. Copenhagen airport, for example, states:
“Travel from the airport has mainly been ‘need to do’ during the corona crisis and we have maintained a relatively high share of business travel, though naturally with far fewer travelling.”
The airport cannot provide specific figures, as the pandemic has temporarily halted their statistical analysis work. Fortunately, society is in the process of reopening, and this presents a unique opportunity for companies to rethink their transport policies. Danish firm Goodwings is riding the green wave and offers Net Zero travel under the motto:
Net Zero Business Trips
Companies can book hotels in Denmark and abroad through Goodwings, just as we normally do through large, well-known platforms, such as hotels.com. What is different about Goodwings is that they not only remove the CO2 emitted during your hotel stay, but from the entire journey – in other words, also from your car or plane journey, for example – and at no extra cost.
Goodwings’ business model, which is based on subscription agreements with companies, allows for this expense. Moreover, in contrast to large international competitors, Goodwings spends almost nothing on marketing. Instead, this is done through a number of dedicated partners who spread the word about Goodwings’ solution.
The company has itself been hit hard by the corona crisis, but the number of companies wanting to travel Net Zero is steadily increasing. Goodwings in fact tripled the number of subscription agreements it has with corporate customers in Q2 2021.
How the CO2 is removed
Every time you travel, Goodwings removes CO2 by planting trees in Uruguay across a huge tract of land that had been overgrazed by livestock, but which will now become forest. A very important aspect of the process is that the CO2 removal is verified, i.e. checked and controlled through official channels. Goodwings therefore records your trip in the respected, worldwide VERRA registry. The entry is listed under your company’s name, for example: “300 tons CO2 removed by Goodwings on behalf of XX”.
This avoids the widespread greenwashing that is found in the industry, according to Goodwings’ CEO & Founder, Christian Møller-Holst, and instead creates a high degree of trust among customers.
Innovation in a rigid industry
“I am truly frightened by what we are leaving behind for future generations,” says Christian, who has both been an army officer and studied philosophy and business at Copenhagen Business School. “As responsible people, we have to do this. We have to reinvent ourselves,” He says, and points to the lack of innovation in the industry:
“The travel industry has stood still for more than 20 years, with a very large chunk of budgets spent on marketing. There is too much fear, too many stock market considerations and a lack of boldness. The industry has been incredibly slow to react to climate change. Any initiative shown has been very disappointing – first of all, they tried to ask customers to pay for it, and then they chose to sell credits that do not remove CO2, but merely compensate for it,”
Christian explains that “compensating” means you simply avoid emitting more CO2 than previously – in contrast to “removing”, where you actively reduce CO2 by, for example, tree planting.
“In a market as price-focused as the travel industry, very few are willing to pay several hundred kroner extra per flight to compensate, and even fewer when it is unclear what this CO2 compensation covers and means in practice. That is why we need innovation.”
Christian explains that verifiably removing CO2 is very expensive, as much as USD 25 per ton, which adds up to around USD 50 per passenger for a Copenhagen to New York round trip.
Convenience is the biggest sales argument
Co-founder and former owner of Goodwings, Christian Honoré, says of the solution:
“This is an easy way for SMVs to get started with cutting their travel-related CO2 emissions. They do not have the capacity themselves to do all the calculations and reporting, so it is great that the system does this for them. Convenience is the keyword here. Assuming the quality of the compensation mechanisms is good, major impacts/effects can be achieved if the business scales up.”