Corporate travel programs across the world are making a commitment to sustainable travel. They are adjusting their policies, measuring and offsetting their carbon footprint and identifying ways to travel more purposefully. They are also identifying ways to engage their employees to adopt new behaviors when on the road for business.
Coordinating frequent employee communications and consistent messaging has proven to make these shifts easier to adopt as they encourage and support the impact of their individual contributions to our planet.
Bring Your Own Reusables
It is becoming more common than ever to bring along your reusable water bottle. Many airports have refill stations that make it easy and convenient to refresh. When you think about single use plastics, this goes much farther than water or drink containers, but utensils, straws, tote bags and containers. Just pack away these items with your other travel necessities and have them ready for your next trip.
Skip the Travel Sized Toiletries
Staying with the theme of reducing/eliminating single use plastics, start to use refillable containers that stay within the 3.5 ounces approved by TSA to carry on. These can be made of glass, silicone or even recycled plastic material that are reusable and can be filled at home. Even larger chains like Marriott have begun to phase out single use travel toiletries.
Reduce Food Waste
Food waste accounts for about eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions. In the US, the EPA estimates food loss and waste account for 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, equal to CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. The old adage that your eyes are bigger than your stomach needs to be seriously taken into consideration. This is not about less consumption, but less waste. Order what you know you will finish when at a restaurant.
Reduce Electricity and Water
The hotel industry has been inundated with the need to reduce their water usage and find ways to reduce their electricity consumption. As a traveler we can have an immediate impact on their success by remembering to take that extra step to turn off the lights and TV when leaving the room, and to agreeing to a reduced housekeeping schedule for longer trips. At home you likely don’t wash your towels each day or change your linens – consider your time at your hotel just as you would at home.
Source Locally and Respect the Culture
With more farm to table restaurants and local community shopping options, the opportunities to take advantage of the region, the resources and the local culture are abundant. By eating and shopping locally, not only does this impact and reduce time to transport food and goods from one country to another, but highlights the importance to support the stimulation of the local economy.
These steps might seem minimal in the broader scheme of what is required to reach the global objectives, but they do contribute immensely to our personal approach and commitment to a sustainable way of life and business travel.