How to Make Your Business Travel Eco Friendly
By Sophia Beirne
If your job requires you to travel a lot, you might wonder what kind of impact you’re having on the environment. Planes use up a lot of fuel, and most products designed for travel quickly generate a substantial amount of waste. You need to be able to sit down with clients or suppliers in other parts of the world, but you don’t want to harm the environment while you’re doing it. Rethinking the way that you travel for business can drastically reduce the negative impact, and possibly even help the locals you’ll be visiting.
Pack The Right Stuff
If you’re already utilizing reusable containers back home, there’s no reason why you can’t use them when you travel. If you have travel cups and food containers with you, you can ask foodservice staff to fill those reusable containers rather than handing you single use disposable containers. The same goes for your toiletries – by purchasing reusable travel sized bottles, you can fill them with your soaps and shampoos from home instead of purchasing single-use plastic products.
It’s also worth noting that the heavier the plane is, the more fuel it’s going to use. If you pack light, you’re technically causing less fuel to be burned. Only bring the clothes you know you’re going to need. If you’re going to be gone for a while, plan to wash the clothing you’ve brought so you can wear it again. If you have important documents you need to bring with you, convert them to digital documents and store them on a thumb drive.
Choose Smart Accomodations
Hotels automatically provide visitors with single use products and things like convenience food. While the hotel industry is necessary, it’s not great for the environment. There are some environmentally friendly hotels, but they’re a relatively new concept. They might be difficult to find where you’re staying, so it’s best to have a backup plan. If you avoid a hotel altogether, you might even be able to save money and live a little more comfortably while you’re away.
If you’re traveling with several coworkers, you can always check Gumtree for a short term house rental. Having access to a kitchen means you’ll be able to prepare your own meals, and if there are laundry machines on the property, everyone can toss their laundry together to save on electricity and water. You’ll be able to live a little more like you do at home, making it easier to control your impact on the environment.
Buy Local When Possible
When you purchase locally made products or locally grown produce, you’re supporting the local economy. It’s always great to give back to the community that you’re visiting, and it’s even better to avoid purchasing anything that’s been imported. If you’re buying things that came from the other side of the world, they needed to be shipped to where you are. They’ll need to be replenished with another shipment if you use them up. Stick to the local stuff – it’s better for everyone involved. You’ll even get a more authentic experience as a visitor.
Perfectly eco friendly business travel isn’t always possible, but you may be able to make up for what you do. If your travel comes in under budget, your business can always purchase carbon offset credits to allow an environmentally friendly organization to mitigate the impact of your trip.