The government recently announced that the Environmental Audit Committee at Westminster is undertaking an assessment of the environmental impacts of UK travel and tourism – both inbound and outbound.

Business travel is necessary for many and it shows no sign of abating but is it possible to maintain face-to-face contact with clients and prospects whilst reducing your carbon footprint?

Sustainability is an important buzzword for your customers and employees and you may be asked more regularly for your green credentials. In turn, you can ask that suppliers report on their carbon emissions and use responsible travel wherever possible.

Smart travel

Air travel accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions but some airlines are more fuel-efficient than others, so do your homework before you book. Look to combine several meetings around trade shows or events you are attending to make the most of your trip or combine a holiday with your business trip to reduce the number of flights you take.

Let the train take the strain

Short flights are the least efficient so try taking the train instead. The Eurostar service to Paris uses 91% less carbon than flying there and the connections to other European cities by train are excellent. When you arrive at your destination, whether in the UK or abroad, use public transport, eco taxis, hire a bike or walk when you can. 

Check in to a sustainable hotel

There are more and more sustainable accommodation choices popping up and even some of the largest hotel chains are doing their bit by cutting down on plastic and water use and using renewable energy.

Environmental policy

If you’re serious about making a commitment to minimising your impact on the environment, write your intentions down in an Environmental Policy. It should include points such as staff training and awareness, waste and recycling, resources and materials, travel goals, etc. Periodically review your policy and make sure you communicate it to your clients and other stakeholders.

What is Carbon offsetting?

A way to compensate for your emissions is by funding an equivalent CO2 saving elsewhere, called a carbon offset. This is useful for companies aiming to become carbon neutral.  Organisations such as www.carbonfootprint.com offer businesses the chance to get involved in a range of carbon offsetting projects that also provide wider benefits on biodiversity, education, jobs, food security and health & wellbeing in developing countries.

Companies that take the lead on sustainable travel choices, tracking air travel and offsetting against their carbon footprint, see positive benefits beyond the environmental. Positive public perception and improved staff morale can both be seen when you show you’re working to reduce your impact on the planet.

As always, the key is to strike a balance between affordable measures that you can take against jeopardising new business potential. If you’d like to talk through your environmental concerns and the benefits of being more sustainable in your organisation, speak to our experts in the travel sector at CRM on 01865 379272.

Sage Accountant Partner Logoiris kashflowFreeagent