It’s hard to find many upsides to the global pandemic the world is living through, but one positive is the lower CO2 emissions being recorded, with Nature Climate Change estimating that emissions fell by a quarter when lockdowns were at their peak.
We are at a moment in time where we need to consider our carbon footprint and what impact it is having on the environment, especially within the business sector. The BBC claims that aviation accounts for two percent of the world’s carbon emissions with this only set to rise as passenger numbers are expected to double to 8.2 billion by 2037. In 2018, eight million business trips were taken from the UK. Some of these flights are long haul, and flying further generates more carbon emissions than the average person does in a year. As other sectors are taking more steps to create a greener world, aviation’s negative contribution is set to continue.
The emission levels through lockdown show that when the whole world works together change can be seen. So, in this article we will see how you can make your business travel eco-friendly.
Is your journey necessary?
Working from home during lockdown has seen a surge in innovative ways to allow us to connect as an office, outside of the office. Software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype for Business have been heroes in allowing businesses to continue running effectively. From meetings to training, these programmes have allowed us to continue our daily routine without having to all be in the same room.
These technologies can further outside of lockdown allowing companies to save money. Rather than spending money on unnecessary travel, switch to virtual meetings. Through these technologies mentioned relationships can be maintained around the world without having to leave your home or office.
Try a train?
If you need to travel, think about how you can get there. Is it possible to take the train rather than flying? Try and see if you can get an electric train as they release around seven times less emissions than a plane does on the same route. This may not be good for cross-country trips, it’s more sustainable than using flying for regional or national travel.
If travel is essential, consider your mode of transport. For example, do you really need to fly? If it is possible to take a train or bus instead of a plane, you should consider it. If you are travelling domestically have you thought about bus travel. Additionally, plenty of buses are now being run on biogas, significantly cutting down on emissions.
Flying in first class may be nice, but it heavily impacts your carbon footprint. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the emissions produced by a passenger in first class are four times higher than someone in economy and business class is three times higher. This is due to the bigger space between the seats, meaning each person accounts for more of the pollution. So think about how much money you will save getting the cheaper ticket, and how much better your carbon footprint will be.
Because the biggest consumption of fuel an aircraft uses is when it takes off, getting a direct flight rather than having to stop off reduces your carbon footprint. On the average four hour flight the fuel used to take the flight to its cruising altitude accounts for between 10 and 20 percent of total fuel consumption.
Limit what you take
Simply, by taking less, less fuel is needed to get it to where you are going. It’s unlikely you will be packing a huge amount for a few days business trip, but just try and limit what you take to a minimum.
If you see that your airline is not doing much to be more environmentally conscious, change. There are actually eco-friendly airlines. Companies are trying to reduce their fuel consumption and meet industry-wide targets. The targets set may include modernising the fleet for they use newer aircraft, rather than old aircrafts that use kerosine a liquid derived from petrol. You can do research on which models are more fuel-efficient and if your chosen airline uses them. You can search the emissions your flight will create with Matrix Airfare Search and you can compare which airlines and routes are more eco-friendly.
Airlines now have started to offset carbon emissions, or some of them anyway. This is due to the rise in ‘flygskam’, the Swedish for flight shame, which means more people are now looking at ways they can make their flights eco-friendlier. Carbon offsetting is when the emissions of a journey are calculated and you are allocated carbon credits from projects which then remove the same amount of emissions from somewhere else, this could involve projects planting trees to help absorb the carbon dioxide from the environment.
The flights you take over a period of a year will make up the majority of your carbon footprint. This will be higher for those who go on many business trips. Think about what has been written in this article and try and apply it when you are planning your next trip.