Home Back Issues March 2009 Business travel: cutting the carbon footprint

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

Why I became an educator

News
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
03.04.14 thumbnail teachBY DEBRA RINGOLD | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

How can we strengthen the performance of institutions charged with teaching what Francis Fukuyama calls the social virtues (reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust) necessary for successful markets and democracy itself?


Read more...

Branching out

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
DSC04185BY LINDA BAKER

A blueberry bush is a blueberry bush — except when it’s a blueberry tree.


Read more...

Eking out a living

News
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
04.08.14 thumb ourtable-coopfarmsBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.


Read more...

How to handle the unexpected

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 28, 2014
03.28.14 thumb disasterBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.


Read more...

Speeding up science

News
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
02.25.14 Thumbnail MedwasteBY JOE ROJAS-BURKE | OB BLOGGER

The medical research enterprise wastes tens of billions of dollars a year on irrelevant studies. It’s time to fix it.


Read more...

Car ignition recalls and lean product design

Contributed Blogs
Friday, April 11, 2014
04.11.14 thumb gm-gettyTOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The auto industry is starting to share more costs across manufacturers for complex and challenging design work, like new transmission design, and certain new engine technologies. What we’re not yet seeing is wholesale outsourcing of “unavoidable waste” components to specialist companies.


Read more...

Spring thaw

News
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Spring ThawBY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER

The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.


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