Sustainable travel: how to reduce your climate change impact

During your trip there is plenty you can do to reduce your climate-change impact. Patricia Doser from the Global Account Management Team at BCD Travel in Munich has some ideas.

Stay where you are

‘First ask yourself whether you really need to take that trip. The alternatives are improving and becoming cheaper. I like to use Skype for Business, which allows me to hold a business meeting online and share my screen at the same time.’

Take direct flights

‘If you do fly, choose a direct flight wherever possible. That may be more expensive but there are definite advantages, such as shorter distances, reduced emissions and lower fuel consumption. You will also save lots of time!’

Make additional savings by flying economy

‘Flying economy class is good for your wallet as well as for the environment. After all, more seats can be fitted in economy class than in business class. Baggage is another aspect that could be considered. The less baggage you have, the less fuel the plane uses. This makes a real difference.’

Fuel efficiency

‘Some airplanes are more fuel-efficient than others. I recently flew with an Airbus A350 XWB, which is lighter, uses less fuel and has lower CO2 emissions than other planes of a similar size. When planning your trip you could ask your travel agent about the environmental performance of your plane. You could also compensate your CO2 emissions via GreenSeat.’

Avoid waste in your hotel

‘Those cute little toiletries in hotels represent a significant amount of plastic per shower. I prefer to bring my own small bottles that have been refilled at home. You can usually indicate that you want to reuse your towels and sheets. After all, you don’t use a clean towel every day at home. You can make a difference at breakfast, too – especially in the States, where hotels use fairly large quantities of plastic cutlery, plates and other disposables. I avoid that wherever possible. When traveling I prefer to drink coffee from a mug rather than a disposable cup. If I am short of time, my travel mug is a good alternative.’

Friendly local transport

‘For domestic trips I like to take the train rather than the car, as I can put the travel time to good use. For transfers from the airport to the hotel I always ask if there is a hotel shuttle. This is more fuel-efficient and often cheaper than a cab. If I need to rent a car on my trip, I choose an energy-efficient option such as an electric or hybrid model, or otherwise a small, fuel-efficient model, which is also easier to park! The best solution is to find a hotel that is close to my destination so I can get there by public transport or on foot. This way I can enjoy the fresh air, too.’

Healthy lunch – also good for trees!

‘It’s a shame that in-flight meals are usually packed in plastic. With some airlines the meals are optional, in which case I prefer to take my own sandwiches. I was pleasantly surprised by KLM recently. They served a bread roll in a paper wrap, and afterwards they collected the paper separately for recycling.’

More and more people are looking to travel in a more eco-friendly way, but aren’t really sure exactly how to do so. Check out these extra tips for greener business travel.