Sponsored by Oregon Business

Business travel: cutting the carbon footprint

| Print |  Email
Sunday, March 01, 2009

As the threat of global climate change grows, an increasing number of businesses are implementing sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprints. But where recycling programs and sustainable building designs succeed, when it comes to business travel, most organizations fail to account for their emissions.


Business travelers log about 405 million trips in the U.S. each year, producing about 2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually. Oregon’s transportation sector accounts for 38% of the state’s greenhouse gas pollution, according to a report by Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s global warming advisory group.

“Organizations need to look not just at their carbon footprint, but the economic footprint of this process,” says Amy Spatrisano, a principal at sustainable conference management firm Meeting Strategies Worldwide.

Ideally, businesses should take a proactive approach to limit travel-related carbon emissions before they are made, says Chris Hagerbaumer, deputy director of the Oregon Environmental Council. Holding meetings electronically reduces the cost of business travel and decreases travel-related emissions.

“When travel is necessary, be more conscious of minimizing that footprint,” says Spatrisano. “Rethink your meetings, and who needs to be there.”

Mass transit options such as trains and buses are efficient transportation alternatives to air and car travel because of the shared passenger loads. However, those traveling long distances by air and car can limit their greenhouse gas emissions as well.

Carriers including Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines provide air travelers the option to purchase carbon offsets when they buy their tickets. Travelers should also look for direct flights as opposed to flights with layovers, which use double the amount of fuel.

For those driving, basic car maintenance will improve a car’s gas mileage and lower emissions. Regular tune-ups can increase a vehicle’s gas mileage by 4%, while replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage up to 10%, according to a report by fueleconomy.gov. Nationwide, rental car agencies are expanding their fleets of hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles for drivers wanting to leave their gas-guzzlers at home.

Hagerbaumer also recommends that businesses purchase carbon offsets to reduce the effects of employee travel. Organizations such as Carbonfund.org and TerraPass, a retailer of carbon offsets, allow individuals and businesses to purchase inexpensive offsets that are then invested into projects that support clean energy development and reforestation.

Many hotels are working to make their operations more sustainable by reducing both energy consumption and waste, providing business travelers with environmentally friendly lodging options. “Green hotels” such as the Doubletree Hotel Portland can be found using tools like the eco-tourism section on Orbitz.com and on the Green Hotel Association website.   NICOLE STORMBERG


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS