22 things business travelers can do to invest in our planet

How the business travel community can help protect and invest in our planet.

Sustainability and corporate social responsibility aren’t just corporate buzzwords. They’re a call to service, reminding us that big and small steps can help protect our world and its resources. Here are 22 things business travelers can do to invest in our planet, because conservation is mission critical for all of us.

  1. Limit trips to necessary business travel that helps strengthen relationships and add the most value to your company’s objectives. Internal meetings that don’t boost sales or the bottom line are a good place to start using virtual collaboration.
  2. Say no to paper. Download digital documents on your devices, instead of taking paper printouts.
  3. Choose direct flights and fly economy class wherever possible.
  4. Pick the right luggage. Choose suitcases and bags made from durable, long-lasting materials. Look for luggage made from recycled materials and for manufacturers offering repairs. The longer your luggage lasts, the less likely it is to end up in the trash or landfill.
  5. Say no to another pair of airline headphones. Bring your own headphones or try to reuse the airline’s complimentary ones, instead of leaving them behind in your seat; they’ll just end up in a landfill.
  6. Travel light. Take as little baggage as possible. Lighter suitcase, packages and carry-on bags help reduce carbon emissions. When total loads are lighter, trains, airplanes and rental cars use less energy during transport.
  7. Refill and reuse toiletries. Buy refillable bottles and compartments for toiletries and medicines. Pack solid shampoo soaps and shaving soaps; they’re leak proof and produce less packaging waste.
  8. Avoid using plastic in hotels, both in the bathroom and for meals and drinks.
  9. Reuse towels and sheets in hotels for several days before having them changed.
  10. Take shorter showers. It may be tempting to indulge in a long shower in your fabulous hotel space but keeping showers brief helps reduce water waste.
  11. Travel green and clean. Use public transit, carpool or walk/bicycle to work and meetings, when possible.
  12.  Take a hotel shuttle rather than a cab.
  13.  When you need to rent a car, choose a small model, preferably electric or hybrid, within your policy.
  14.  Check TripSource® for tips on more sustainable business trips—such as choosing eco-label hotels, renting electric cars or using public transportation.
  15. Combine several appointments on one trip.
  16. Conserve energy. Make sure you turn off lights in your hotel room and meeting spaces when they’re not in use. Switch off/power down devices that you’re not using. Ahead of extended business trips, unplug in-home electronics, where possible.
  17. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when feasible.
  18. Reuse products and actively recycle trash. Pack reusable water bottles/coffee mugs and straws in your carry-on gear.
  19. Use cloud storage for files. Reduce energy consumption, waste and carbon emissions.
  20. Buy local. Where possible and allowed by the travel policy, support the local economy and community by purchasing their goods and services. This is your chance to try a local Instagram-worthy “mom and pop” food truck or restaurant.
  21. Leave no trace. The “pack out what you bring in” principles don’t just apply to outdoors and camping. Make it a daily habit to use as few resources as possible and to recycle and dispose of used items responsibly.
  22. Be a positive influencer. Spread the word and encourage your co-workers, clients and prospects to invest in the planet. Post conservation and green tips on your social networks from time to time. Your followers will appreciate it and may repost them.

Top tips for a sustainable workplace

Make your work environment – whether at home or in the office – more sustainable.

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