Business travel: cutting the carbon footprint

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2009
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

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


Read more...

City announces plans for Portland summer-league baseball team

News
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
IMG 3888BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Baseball is returning to Portland and city officials are hoping economic opportunity comes with it.


Read more...

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...

Much ado about data-driven organizations, for good reason

Contributed Blogs
Monday, April 13, 2015
bigdatathumbBY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

The best crisis is the one you avoid

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
crisisthumbBY GARY CONKLING | GUEST BLOGGER

Avoiding a crisis is a great way to burnish your reputation, increase brand loyalty and become a market leader.


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