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Simple Ways Your Business Can Reduce Travel Emissions


By Kayla Matthews

On an individual level, you’ve probably considered the impact you have on the environment. But what about your business? Perhaps you’ve already invested in environmentally friendly office supplies, take the time to recycle and educate your employees on the importance of working with the planet instead of against it. But is there more you can do?

If you have employees who travel regularly for business trips and initiatives, the answer is yes. Keep reading to learn more about how your business can cut down on travel emissions and why it could be beneficial in the long run.

Cutting down on emissions is important and beneficial

While it may not be the first thing you think of when you consider actions that have an impact on the environment, transportation accounts for approximately 40 percent of the America’s fossil fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Because CO2 is one of the gasses that is most responsible for climate change, this is a significant figure.

In addition to helping the environment, cutting down on your travel impact could help your business in the following ways:

  • It can give you something to share. More than ever before, individuals want to work with companies that work toward a greater good. If you’re concerned about the environment and are publicly taking steps to reduce your impact, it’ll look good to potential customers.

  • It could boost employee morale. A 2012 study found that companies that go green are more likely to attract productive employees than non-green counterparts.

  • You could receive tax breaks. While the actual benefits vary by state, there are tax breaks and benefits available for businesses that work to lessen their environmental impact. One way to accomplish this is to modify travel practices to reduce emissions.

How to make it happen

It all sounds great, right? You’re ready to attract new business along with the top talent while receiving tax benefits. Where do you start? How do you work to cut down emissions in a practical manner that doesn’t carry negative impacts for your business? It doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are a few options:

  • Rent the right cars. Sometimes business requires travel. There’s no way around it. If you encourage employees to select hybrid and electric cars when possible, you could cut down on the impact of that travel. When multiple employees need to travel to the same location, encourage them to coordinate dates and rent a single car.

  • Consider alternatives to air travel. There’s nothing better than the speed of travel that comes with flying, which is why most companies default to air travel as the top choice for sending employees around the world. But planes are known for their negative environmental impacts. Luckily, buses emit 55 to 75 percent less CO2 than airplanes, and trains emit three to seven times less gas than airplanes, according to the study by the Union of Concerned Scientists referenced above. Because buses can travel nearly anywhere domestically and there are more rail options under development daily, you can avoid flying without making travel a hassle.

  • Start a daily travel incentive program. Employees are more likely to become interested in your focus on cutting down emissions for business travel if there’s something in it for them. You can start with the daily commute. Create a daily travel incentive program that provides entries for monthly or weekly drawings, depending upon your capabilities. You can reward employees who walk or bike to work, use public transportation, or choose to carpool instead of driving separately.

  • Make telecommuting and conferencing a priority. Sometimes it’s possible to avoid business travel altogether, which cuts down on travel emissions completely. Create a telecommuting program and invest in teleconferencing or Web-conferencing technology, so you can eliminate the need to have employees from multiple locations in the same room.

Put a focus on cutting down on travel emissions for your business and get your employees excited about the process. You can lower your business’s impact on the environment, which is a win-win for everyone.

Image credit: Magdeleine/Tomas Laurinavicius

Kayla Matthews is a healthy living writer and blogger who writes for The Huffington Post and The Climate Group. Follow her on Facebook or at ProductivityTheory.com

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