Sustainable Travel Tips

Are your road warriors concerned about their impact on the environment? Promote green business travel with these helpful tips.

While business travel may be a necessary part of the job, the toll it takes on the environment is indisputable. Ultimately, green business travel is a grassroots movement. To be an environmental ambassador, a corporate planner can encourage individual improvements, ask questions and suggest easy fixes.

Here are a few suggestions to help green-up your travellers' next business trip and promote sustainable travel:

Fly non-stop. Pit stops and layovers mean at least one extra take off and landing, which is responsible for half of the carbon emissions during a single flight, according to Kimberly Sanberg, co-founder of Couple that with the need to fly kilometres off course to find a landing strip, and the net result is fuel consumed and carbon spewed.

Alternative transportation. If possible, take the train instead of the plane. To get around town, share a cab or a rental car, use public transportation or even better, pedal power, says Fairmont Royal York Hotel spokesperson Melanie Coates, who chairs the luxury hotel operator’s Toronto-based green team. The Royal York, for example, offers bike rentals.

Schedule back-to-back trips. With some extra planning, you can lump together a couple of trips, rather than approaching each as a separate entity, you’ll save fuel (and time and money).

Green hotels and event venues. Choose properties with a proven record in environmental stewardship. A good place to start: Green Key (, which rates hotels on everything from housekeeping practices to green building infrastructure. Create a shortlist and contact each candidate with targeted questions about accommodations and green meetings.

Fly economy, during the day. According to David Suzuki, studies in sustainable travel show that daytime flights cause less impact on climate, while economy class allows more people per plane, which means fewer emissions per person.

Consider buying offsets. Carbon offsets are essentially a service whereby the purchaser pays a supplier to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on his or her behalf. Purchasing Carbon Offsets is a free how-to guide available at

One carry-on. Less weight equals less fuel and a single bag is easier to maneuver. Plus, you’ll avoid the scrimmage at the baggage carousel.

BYOB. Give plastic water bottles the cold shoulder by bringing your own reusable vessel. In doing so you’ll lessen the landfill load (the average plastic bottle takes 450-1,000 years to biodegrade.)

Incorporate even a few of these measures in your corporate travel policy, and you'll be taking a timely step toward a more sustainable travel program. 

– Sherryll Sobie, Ignite magazine

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