Planting the Seed of Sustainable Corporate Travel this Earth Day

Picture this: Towering trees sway in the wind, filtering air and removing harmful pollutants, while a nearby stream winds through the forest and provides a clean water source for dozens of connected cities and their residents.

It’s a pictorial setting worth preserving, particularly in the face of a worldwide pandemic that has challenged the availability of resources and encouraged companies big and small to rethink their priorities for the future. While April 22 marks the official observation of Earth Day, the events of 2020 further underscore the positive change that can be realized once businesses move beyond the one-day-a-year mindset and transition to a year-long sustainability approach.

Offsetting Corporate Travel Emissions

For business travel, this commitment to sustainability carries far-reaching implications. Airlines, car services, and hotels all contribute their fair share of CO2 emissions. Green-certified hotels and electric cars have helped lessen the impact, but it’s still nearly impossible to execute an entirely emissions-free travel program, particularly when factoring in efficiency and cost savings objectives. Instead, businesses should work with their Travel Management Company (TMC) to focus on offsetting the emissions of their travel program with the goal of becoming carbon neutral.

The road to a carbon neutral travel program begins by measuring a business’s carbon footprint to determine the total emissions of its travelers. From there, sustainability benchmarks can be established based on industry best practices and stakeholder expectations. Carbon offset options to help meet these benchmarks may include reforestation, forest conservation, renewable energy investments, and energy efficient community projects. Each option should be verified by a neutral third-party and provide a measurable volume of greenhouse gas reduction associated with the cost. By choosing to invest in such projects, businesses effectively offset the emissions of their own travel programs. 

Investing in the Future

Just as businesses have a Duty of Care responsibility to employees, they also need to consider their ethical responsibility in minimizing the environmental impact of their travel. It is both a commitment to addressing the challenges of the present and an investment in the future

At Direct Travel, we are expanding beyond our existing efforts (such as being an EcoVadis member) to help foster an environmentally sustainable approach for business travel. We have formed a new partnership with South Pole to explore future options for offsetting our own carbon footprint and offer that same path forward to clients via our TravelStack technology and services platform. South Pole brings an impressive portfolio of work to the table, with proven expertise as a leading climate change strategy and solutions company. Their team has helped develop more than 700 carbon emission reduction projects around the world, representing the equivalent of 21 million cars taken off the road.

Together, we are creating a program that will ensure clients can build their own sustainability roadmap with a focus on investing in projects that align with their respective corporate values. If you are already a Direct Travel client, you will be hearing more about our sustainability partnership and your options for moving to a carbon-neutral program in the future.

Remember: No matter your size of company or nature of work, we all have steps we can take to do our part this Earth Day. Our ability to do business and travel safely depends on a thriving and ecologically protected world.

Interested in learning more about the other partner initiatives and personalized services that define Direct Travel’s role as a leading TMC? Connect with us for more information.