How to reduce the carbon emissions from your business travel

Many businesses are now looking for ways to reduce the carbon emissions of their travel programme to tie into wider business efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. A 2022 GBTA study found that 88% of the industry sector ranks reducing business travel emissions as the top priority for the next two to three years. At Travel Counsellors, we can help you make smarter travel plans to steer you towards your wider ESG targets, finding the balance between carbon savings, comfort and cost along the way.

How to reduce the carbon emissions from your business travel

Getting started

An important first step for any business with this goal is to establish your baseline and calculate your current carbon emissions. Your Travel Counsellor can help you with this through our complimentary carbon reporting service.

The next step is to establish your emissions reductions goal and the timeframe that you want to achieve this within. From there, you can work backwards and create a roadmap with incremental reductions each year. It’s important to factor business growth plans into this goal setting as strong growth plans could require additional business travel.

This will effectively give you a carbon budget for each year that you’ll need to sit within in order to achieve your goal.

Developing a more sustainable travel policy

A revision of your travel policy is an opportunity to define the behaviours that you expect your travellers to exhibit. Here, you can lay out the measures that will help you achieve your goals along with any incentives and restrictions for travellers to help drive adherence.

Internal promotion of the new policy is key to ensuring a successful implementation. The more uptake you can get of the policy, the quicker you’ll start to see results.


Opportunities to reduce emissions

Swap flights for rail

Opting for the train in place of flying can cut your emissions by as much as 90%. Whether you’re travelling across the UK or heading over the Channel into Europe, rail can be a cost-effective, low carbon transport option that takes you right into the heart of a city and closer to your next meeting.

Flying direct

Non-stop flights are generally more fuel-efficient than connecting flights because take off and landings are the most fuel-intensive parts of the journey. If available, choosing direct flights to your destination is the best option.

Choose your cabin class carefully

The more premium cabin classes, such as Business and First, come with a higher associated emissions factor for a given flight due to occupying more space per person. By switching classes, you can save on emissions and ‘compensate’ your travellers comfort in other ways with more premium accommodation options.

Going beyond the carbon footprint

Choosing more sustainable accommodations

Choosing an accommodation with the Travel Counsellors Green Leaf label is a simple way of ensuring that your hotel has carbon emissions reduction measures in place. Each of the hotels with the label has been recognised as having sustainability standards that are aligned with those created by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

While this won’t translate to a reduction in your reported carbon emissions, it is a great way to display your intentions by supporting businesses within the travel industry that are taking carbon emissions reduction seriously, and are looking at sustainability more holistically.

The location of the accommodation is important too. By choosing options that are within walking distance of meetings you can reduce the need for taxis.

Reuseable water bottles

By providing your travellers with reusable water bottles, you can help to remove the need for plastic bottles whilst they travel.

Going digital

Using technology-based solutions can help to reduce the need for paper. Digital tickets can be stored within the myTC app, making them safe and convenient to access.

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