The concept of sustainable travel has been a hot topic in recent years. Is it time for sustainable travel to transition from an important topic to a requirement?
We all know that travel makes an impact on the environment. As corporate social responsibility becomes a greater emphasis for organizations around the world, sustainable travel also becomes a point of focus.
Should sustainable travel be required? Cases can be made on both sides of the argument. But, whether or not it becomes required, your organization can start asking and answering questions right now in pursuit of creating a more sustainable travel program.
No matter how large or small your travel program, and no matter how you approach sustainable travel, here are 4 questions that are worth asking.
What Trips are Worth Taking?
The best approach to sustainable travel is eliminating trips that aren’t worth taking in the first place. This naturally reduces travel-related costs and is also good for the environment. What types of trips should you consider eliminating? Think about the following:
- Trips that can easily be replaced by video conferencing tools
- Trips that require Travelers to be away for only 1 day
- Trips that do not have a clear ROI
Also, consider reducing the number of people planning to go on group trips. For example, rather than sending 8 team members to a conference or expo, can you get away with sending just 5 or 6? Small adjustments like these can reduce your environmental impact over time.
What Trips Deserve a Flight?
You should also think about what trips deserve a flight? Short flights are among the least sustainable ways to travel, so consider limiting flights within your region. That is, ask Travelers to drive or consider other means of transportation (buses, trains, etc.) as alternatives to short flights. You can also encourage Travelers to carpool to the station or for the entire trip.
Adjustments like these may require an evaluation of your travel policy — more on this below.
Can You Support Carbon Offsets and SAF?
There are new ways to travel more sustainably without dramatically altering your approach to travel. First, you can calculate the environmental impact of your business travel and purchase carbon offsets using tools like ThrustCarbon. Second, you can choose to fly with airlines exploring the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
Together, these tactics can align with your existing travel program while also helping your entire organization travel in a more environmentally responsible manner.
How Should Your Travel Policy Change?
If you want to emphasize sustainable travel in 2022 and beyond, how does your travel policy need to change? It’s a good idea to work in tandem with your Travel Manager and your travel management company (TMC) to look at small policy changes that could support a much more sustainable travel program.
For example, does your current policy allow for train travel? Are employees able to book at higher rates if SAF is used for a flight? Your travel policy will be unique to your people and your business, but there are surely ideas you can implement for a more sustainable approach.
Finally, circling back to the original question: Should sustainable travel be required? If organizations that ask team members to travel are acting responsibly and encouraging sustainability through their travel policies, there’s no reason to require it. That’s an even greater reason why your travel policy should change to encourage sustainability.
Let Us Help You Travel More Sustainably
The JTB Business Travel team provides tailored solutions and support that respond to your company’s needs. No matter how you want to approach sustainable travel, we can help you craft the right policy and implement the right tools and support to follow through on your commitment. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Get in touch to learn more about sustainable travel with JTB Business Travel.