Sustainable Travel doesn't have to cost more

(April 2022)

As many approaches to reducing your company’s carbon footprint suggest a higher cost to your budget, this is not always the case.  To support some initial considerations for reducing carbon emissions and cost, we offer the following examples. 

When Rail is the Better Option:

According to IATA (the International Air Transport Association), air travel accounts for 2.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, traveling by train releases approximately seven times less emissions than a plane for the same route.  

TI reviewed and compared options for primary city pairs that would benefit from considering rail over air travel. The results indicate dramatic cost savings and may be worth evaluation if these city pairs are within your company’s higher travel routes. 

Using an average 7 day advance purchase:

RailAir
NY to Boston$162$290
NY to Washington$188$291
Miami to Tampa$100$375
Los Angeles to San Diego$54$259
Seattle to Portland$63$463

While the argument may be the loss in time and productivity, the reality is that the productivity is much higher on a train, and time considerations for navigating traffic congestion as well as wait time at the airport impact a total travel time of only one hour less when traveling by air.

Reduce number of single meeting itineraries

Based upon recent business traveler surveys, the majority of travelers want to be more conscious of their personal carbon footprint. As a result, they are more likely to adjust their behaviors knowing they are making a difference to the environment.

The historic road warrior had a sense of pride in the amount of time they were ‘on the road’. Today’s business traveler appreciates the need to travel and experience new destinations, but also desires a work/life balance.

As such, instead of the frequent one meeting sales trips, organizing and planning customer meetings to include two or three meetings per itinerary not only supports their need for balance, but reduces cost of airfare and usually reduces the hotel nights by 1 night, while cutting their carbon footprint by an average of 40%.

Summary

As we work towards a more sustainable travel program, there are going to be situations where you assess the reduction in your company’s carbon footprint vs the cost of travel. Yes, some choices will increase the cost to make the emission reduction, but it is not always the case. The savvy travel manager can make minor shifts in travel policy to identify the opportunities that are logical and acceptable by your travelers and employees.

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