After energy, business travel can be the single biggest generator of operational carbon emissions, and tackling it effectively often means challenging an organisation’s culture.

sustainable business travel and car sharing

Planet Mark-certified construction company Higgins Group’s cut more than 10% of its carbon footprint last year. This was mainly due to a 32% cut in its diesel and petrol use across its 212-strong fleet, but also because it encouraged its employees to car share or use public transport. Consulting Group Capgemini, meanwhile, introduced a TravelWell policy and since 2008 that has helped it reduce travel carbon emissions by 12.6%. Its website states: “TravelWell is a holistic approach to sustainable employee travel that aims to accomplish a behavioural change.”

So if you are considering reducing your business travel carbon footprint, here are five questions to ask about your organisation’s travel culture:

1. Does your job involve travel, other than your daily commute?

In many organisations business travel is considered a perk and a recognition of the importance of an individual’s post and their contribution to the businesses’ success. Of course it depends on the nature of the business, the desirability or otherwise of the travel destinations and an individual’s personal circumstances – perhaps young, carefree and single or in a relationship and with caring responsibilities

2. Does the travel you have to do adversely affect your work-life balance?

Many organisations expect you to travel before and/or after a full working day, but is that acceptable these days, given the strain that it can put on your health and pressure on other members of your family?

3. Do you want to do something about it?

Do you think your business travel is really necessary or do you do it because your predecessors did and it is part of the company culture? How about undertaking a back of the envelope calculation of how much time and money you spend travelling. Encourage your organisation to set its own policy for measuring and reducing its carbon footprint from business travel.

4. Are the benefits that business travel brings to you and your company worth it?

Face-to-face contact remains an important part of any business relationship, helping to building trust and confidence. However we constantly seem to analyse other aspects of our working lives and measure our performance against work-related targets, but business travel is still somewhat under the radar.

5. Can you do useful work while travelling?

Rail travel in particular should be conducive to worthwhile work, especially reading and evaluating documents. Download documents to your device in advance so you are not reliant on WiFi.

Planet First has joined forces with BST Environmental to launch a new workshop aimed at helping organisations tackle the cost, time and carbon emissions resulting from their business travel. To find out more or register your interest please click on the button below.

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