If you’re a frequent flyer, you've probably got packing down to a fine art. But packing light has benefits beyond having to pay for excess baggage. It turns out, lighter bags mean a lighter airplane, and lighter airplanes need... you guessed it...less fuel to take off.
7 sustainable travel tips to reduce your company's emissions
Update your travel policy, take the train and pack like a ninja. Plus, why turning right instead of left on a plane is better for the planet.
Responsible or "sustainable" travel has become top of mind for businesses of all sizes, but especially for those setting ambitious ESG targets, and where air travel makes up the majority of their emissions. But aside from cutting back on flying altogether, how can you make sure that when you travel, you're doing it in a way that's sustainable and emission free?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as emission free traveling - even for those who opt out of air travel. But what you can do is travel responsibly. This means limiting the impact of each journey and only traveling when it's strictly necessary. In this article we outline some sustainable travel tips, both small and large, that can help you can help you reduce your travel footprint.
Policy is key
If your company has an old school travel policy, it's time to update it. Having clear guidelines for employees to follow will not only give them a reason for "why" they should make more responsible travel choices, but how those choices contribute to the company's broader sustainability goals. Having guidelines in place also increases predictability in terms of travel costs and emissions totals, so you can get a high level view of how much you're emitting as a business, and what it's costing you every year.
Need inspiration for a more climate-friendly travel policy? Grab this free template to get started.
Consider your transport options
For short trips, traveling by train or bus will more than halve your emissions (some busses and trains are even emission free). This is a good time to lean back and enjoy the view, or take advantage of the free wifi to get a couple of work tasks squared off while you’re on the road.
If air travel is the only option, consider taking the bus, metro, or a bike when you arrive instead of renting a car. If you do rent a car, opt for an electric or hybrid model, and try to go for the smallest car available if you're traveling alone, so that you save on fuel.
Choose direct flights
If air travel is your only option, there are still ways to make sure that your travel emissions are as low as possible. When booking your flight, try to opt for direct flights. Shorter flights and stopovers create more pollution per passenger, because take-offs and landings contribute to a bigger portion of the overall emissions.
Invest in biofuel
You've probably heard people say“we need to phase out fossil fuels in order to limit global warming”. But if flying is unavoidable, what's the alternative? While we’re waiting for electric planes, the most important thing we can do is invest in renewable fuels.
Biofuel or SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) is used to power planes, just like fossil based jet fuel. Most biofuel is made from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials such as used cooking oil, but there are also developments in the use of microorganisms like yeast and algae. The most important point is that biofuel can be used without huge changes to existing infrastructure - it can simply replace the fuel that's used in planes today.
So why should you invest in biofuel for your next trip? Because it reduces emissions by up to 80% (when you look at the entire lifecycle of the fuel production process) compared to conventional jet fuel. Read more about how Goodwings helps pay for your biofuel here.
Business class is a no-go
For long haul trips, we get that business class is appealing, but premium seats come at a cost - not just for you, but for the planet.
Hear us out - because business class seats take up more space than economy class, it naturally means fewer available seats per plane, and therefore less room for passengers. The more passengers, the lower the emissions per passenger.
This is not to say that you have to choose the back row seat near the toilets to have an impact. The sole act of avoiding business class will not change the emissions of the flight you're on. That said, choosing ordinary or economy seating over luxury seating really makes a difference. Right now, the high profitability and demand for luxury seats encourage airlines to offer even more luxury seating. Encouraging airlines to create more economy seating opens up opportunities for more efficient flights, fewer flights needed for the same route, and an overall drop in emissions.
Stay for longer
By packing more meetings into fewer trips per year, you can save on emissions and travel costs. Added to that, extending your work trip to include a holiday kills two birds with one stone. Bleisure travel is on the rise with 37% of North American business travelers extending their work trip for leisure last year, according to recent research by GBTA.