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9 Ways to Make Business Travel More Sustainable in 2024

The urgency to address climate change and its associated environmental impacts has propelled sustainability in business travel to the forefront of corporate agendas worldwide. 

As we embark on the sustainability journey into 2024, integrating sustainable practices into business travel solutions becomes an ethical and strategic imperative. This guide offers actionable tips for organizations to minimize their business travel carbon footprint and environmental impact while maintaining efficient and effective operations while managing corporate travel.

  1. Implement Initiatives That Offset Your Carbon Emissions
  2. Update Your Travel Policy
  3. Choose Accommodation With Environmentally Friendly Practices
  4. Continuously Measure Your Impact & Improve
  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  6. Opt for Eco-Friendly Transportation
  7. Embrace Virtual Meetings and Conferencing
  8. Promote Sustainable Living Even While Traveling
  9. Set Clear Sustainability Targets and Incentivize Green Choice

9 Sustainability Tips for Business Travel in 2024

1. Implement Initiatives That Offset Your Carbon Emissions

Businesses can mitigate their environmental impact by investing in carbon offset projects, such as those supporting reforestation or the development of renewable energy sources. There are programs today that aid organizations in reducing carbon emissions, lessening the impact of fossil fuels, and reducing the adverse effects of a business trip by supporting reforestation initiatives

Most airlines will also highlight the emission benefits when employees fly direct—even if it is in business class. Additionally, selecting accommodations and conference venues committed to sustainability can reduce your organization’s carbon footprint. Carbon offsetting compensates for the emissions generated and contributes to global efforts against climate change, making it an essential part of sustainable business travel.

Actionable Tips:

  1. Leverage AltoVita’s partnerships with sustainability initiatives to integrate carbon offsetting fully into your corporate travel policies.
  2. Encourage your travel managers to book accommodations and flights through platforms that offer transparent information on their sustainability efforts, including carbon offset options.
  3. Participate in AltoVita’s 2024 Smart, Safe, Sustainable Summit to gain insights into the latest sustainable practices in corporate housing, enabling your company to make informed decisions that align with your sustainability goals and reduce your overall environmental impact.

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2. Update Your Travel Policy

Incorporate sustainability objectives into your organization’s travel policy to encourage employees to make eco-friendly choices—this could be opting for direct flights to reduce emissions, choosing one of the many hotels recognized as green hotels, and utilizing eco-friendly public transport providers. Emphasizing sustainable aviation fuel and flying economy class can reduce your organization’s environmental footprint.

By prioritizing accommodations that adhere to sustainable practices, businesses can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, support using renewable energy sources, and promote sustainable travel practices within the travel industry. This proactive approach helps reduce emissions and showcases an organization’s commitment to sustainability, enhancing its reputation among clients and employees. Thankfully, sustainable policies are on the rise: Skift found that 63% of companies are investing more in sustainable travel, and 80% of business travelers want more sustainable options. 

Tip: Incorporate sustainability practices into your travel management by choosing direct flights and accommodations utilizing renewable energy sources, reducing your organization’s carbon footprint. Opt for airlines that invest in fuel-efficient planes and use sustainable aviation fuel to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions from air travel.

3. Choose Accommodation With Environmentally Friendly Practices

Selecting suitable accommodation is crucial in minimizing the environmental impact of business travel. Opting for hotels and corporate housing that prioritize sustainability can significantly reduce your organization’s carbon footprint. Many hotels now employ practices aimed at conserving water, reducing energy consumption, and minimizing waste, which not only lessens the environmental impact but also aligns with the growing demand for responsible travel options. 

By choosing accommodations that are actively working towards reducing emissions and utilizing renewable energy sources, businesses can contribute to the global effort against climate change while ensuring their travel practices reflect their commitment to sustainability. Furthermore, staying in such properties often offers travelers a unique and enriching experience, reinforcing the positive impact of sustainable choices on the environment and employee well-being.

AltoVita Spotlight: As a corporate housing platform, AltoVita is committed to presenting properties that meet high environmental standards, making sustainable business travel more accessible. 

AltoVita’s innovative platform spotlights the sustainability initiatives and certifications of housing options. It provides travel managers and traveling employees with real-time, verified information to confidently find corporate housing that aligns with their sustainability values and goals. 

Green accommodation providers use practices like water conservation and clean energy to minimize environmental impact. When booking your following business travel accommodations, look for AltoVita’s sustainability filter to quickly identify and choose these eco-friendly options, ensuring your travel decisions support a more sustainable and responsible approach to business travel.

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4. Continuously Measure Your Impact & Improve

Use technology to continuously measure your organization’s carbon footprint and sustainability impact. Tools that track business travel emissions can provide valuable data, enabling your company to refine its travel programs and make more environmentally responsible decisions that reduce carbon emissions. 

Additionally, incorporating sustainability metrics into performance reviews can motivate departments and individuals to adhere to best practices in sustainable business travel. Regularly updating stakeholders on the progress towards sustainability goals fosters a culture of transparency and accountability, further embedding sustainability into the corporate ethos.

Tip: Set clear sustainability targets for your travel programs and purchase carbon offsets for unavoidable emissions, a crucial step towards achieving a more sustainable travel industry. Establishing a feedback loop where employees can suggest improvements to travel policies can also enhance the company’s sustainability journey, making it a collaborative and evolving process.

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Promote sustainable travel practices among your employees by encouraging them to pack light, use digital boarding passes, and choose reusable water bottles over single-use plastics. This reduces waste and lessens the carbon emissions associated with transporting heavier luggage. 

Moreover, encouraging employees to use refillable toiletry containers instead of disposable ones can significantly reduce plastic waste, further aligning your business travel with environmental sustainability goals. Engaging in such practices demonstrates a commitment to reducing the negative impact of travel on the planet and fostering a culture of sustainability within your organization.

Tip: Implement a ‘Green Traveler’ program within your organization to recognize and reward employees who consistently adopt sustainable travel practices. This could include using public transportation for ground transportation, staying in green hotels, or successfully minimizing travel waste. Recognition can be in rewards, certificates, or even highlighting their efforts in company communications, motivating others to follow suit.

6. Opt for Eco-Friendly Transportation

When planning business travel, consider the carbon impact of using a rental car versus public transportation. Many cities offer eco-friendly transportation options that lessen environmental impact and support employee well-being by reducing the stress associated with driving and parking in unfamiliar locations. Companies should encourage employees to book business travel with sustainability in mind, prioritizing electric vehicle rentals or rail travel over less fuel-efficient modes of transport.

Tip: Encourage employees to select eco-friendly transportation options, such as electric vehicles or rail travel, available through our network of ground transportation providers. For longer trips, consider airlines that use fuel-efficient planes or offer options to purchase carbon offsets.

7. Embrace Virtual Meetings and Conferencing

Reduce the need for air travel, a significant contributor to business travel carbon emissions, by adopting virtual alternatives for meetings that don’t require physical presence. While the power of in-person connection is unparalleled, high-quality video conferencing solutions can effectively replace many in-person gatherings, aligning with your company’s sustainability targets.

When your team does travel, encourage them to leverage digital boarding passes and video conferencing to reduce paper waste and the need for travel, aligning with responsible travel practices.

Tip: Adopt a hybrid work philosophy that allows virtual alternatives for meetings that do not require physical presence at an office or event venue, significantly cutting down on business travel emissions.

8. Promote Sustainable Living Even While Traveling

Encourage your employees to pack light for their business trips, as heavier luggage requires more fuel to transport. This simple act, along with using travel documents electronically instead of printing, can significantly reduce emissions. When selecting an office or event venue for important meetings, consider locations easily accessible by public transportation to minimize the need for additional ground transportation. Traveling in economy class and packing light are simple yet effective paths toward reducing emissions per passenger mile, making these practices integral to sustainable travel. Additionally, fostering a sustainability mindset among employees can extend to their choices in accommodations, opting for hotels that implement green initiatives such as energy-saving lights, low-flow showers, and recycling programs. By making environmentally conscious decisions throughout their journey, employees can significantly lessen the overall carbon footprint of their business travel.

Tip: Develop a sustainable travel guide or employee checklist outlining best practices for eco-friendly business trips. This guide could include tips on selecting sustainable accommodations, dining at restaurants that offer locally sourced foods, and ways to offset carbon emissions associated with travel. Distributing this resource company-wide is a constant reminder of your organization’s commitment to sustainability and empowers employees to make responsible choices while on the road.

9. Set Clear Sustainability Targets and Incentivize Green Choices

To ensure a positive impact on environmental and employee well-being, set clear sustainability goals that encourage responsible travel management practices, and highlight sustainable options. Recognize employees who consistently demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, whether through opting for eco-friendly accommodations, participating in several trips combined into short trips that reduce travel frequency and increase fuel efficiency, or choosing venues and accommodations committed to reducing their environmental impact. 

Additionally, incorporating sustainability criteria into the performance evaluation process can underscore its importance within the company culture. Training and resources on sustainable travel practices can further empower employees to make informed decisions that align with the organization’s environmental objectives.

Actionable Tip: Implement a points-based reward system for sustainable travel behaviors. Employees could earn points for selecting public transport, staying in green hotels, or even engaging in carbon offsetting for their travel. These points could be redeemed for rewards, such as additional time off, gift cards, or donations to environmental charities in the employee’s name. This system incentivizes sustainable choices and makes being eco-friendly a measurable, rewarding aspect of business travel.

How AltoVita Supports Sustainability in Corporate Travel

AltoVita is dedicated to advancing sustainability in the corporate travel industry. Our commitment is reflected in partnerships with eco-friendly accommodation providers, carbon offsetting initiatives, and sustainable practices in our business travel solutions. By choosing AltoVita, companies streamline managing corporate travel and actively participate in reducing the travel industry’s environmental impact, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

By integrating these practices and focusing on the sustainability journey in every aspect of travel management, from selecting eco-friendly accommodations through platforms like AltoVita to encouraging clean energy usage, organizations can make substantial strides in reducing their business travel carbon footprint.

AltoVita aids companies in meeting their environmental responsibilities and enhancing their overall travel management process. Sign up today.

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