There are ways for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in sustainable business travel practices, too.
The sustainability conversation is all around us. Everyone is “going green,” and that includes organizations that are now focusing on sustainable business travel practices. According to a recent Deloitte survey, 31% of companies have pledged to reduce emissions by a specific amount within a specific time period, and another 21% have a timeline in place but are still quantifying emission reductions.
You may think it’s only large corporations that see an opportunity to make their travel programs more sustainable, but companies of any size can go green. There are many ways that small and mid-sized businesses can also pursue sustainability, including the 5 options listed below.
1. Travel Policies That Support Sustainability
Sustainable business travel starts with your travel policy. You can craft a travel policy that emphasizes trains before planes, direct flights over multi-stop flights, public transit over rented vehicles, green-certified hotel properties, plus more.
When you build a sustainability focus into your travel policy, sustainability progress naturally follows within your travel program.
2. Carbon Credits
We recently wrote about the effectiveness of buying carbon offsets, which is another way to emphasize sustainability in your travel program. In short, buying carbon offsets allows you to fund carbon reduction or carbon capture projects that offset all of your travel-related emissions (or some portion of them).
This is now easy for small and mid-sized businesses because there are platforms (like TerraPass) that do all the hard work for you. Don’t have the budget to fully offset your travel-related emissions? No problem. Start small by offsetting just a portion. Every little bit helps.
3. Vendor Selection
Some vendors are more sustainable than others. For example, we already mentioned pointing Travelers toward green-certified hotels and other accommodations as part of your travel policy. You can also use car rental companies that offer electric vehicles and fly with airlines that are using sustainable aviation fuel.
4. Traveler Education
Everyone can play a role in sustainable business travel. In addition to crafting a travel policy that emphasizes sustainability, provide education to your Travelers that reinforces your corporate focus on sustainability.
Sometimes it’s not enough to create a travel policy that asks Travelers to fly direct, to take trains over planes, to stay in green-certified hotels, etc. Give your Travelers the “why” behind your approach to sustainability in business travel, and they will be more likely to partner with you to make a difference.
5. Choosing When to Go (and When to Stay Home)
The best way to eliminate emissions related to business travel is to stay home. Business travel is an absolute necessity in the modern age. It helps companies connect with prospects, meet with existing customers and clients, gather with internal teams to make strategic decisions, etc. But there’s a higher bar for essential travel in 2022 and beyond, and your organization can use that higher bar to reduce emissions and save money.
Executives and Travel Managers should work together to determine what situations, circumstances and opportunities require travel — as well as which ones can be facilitated through virtual meetings or alternate forms of communication. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for your bottom line, too.
What are Your Business Travel Priorities?
No matter what you want to accomplish through business travel, JTB can help support those goals. We work with a range of corporate clients who rely on travel to grow their businesses — but that also want to travel and grow in a sustainable fashion. We provide services, tools and recommendations that can help you travel sustainably without sacrificing the benefits of a full-fledged travel program.
Contact us to learn more about traveling sustainably with support from JTB.