You may be committed to doing less harm to the environment in your personal life, but when it comes to business operations you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you have no control. But is that really true? With an arsenal of green knowledge and tools at your disposal there’s no reason you can’t make suggestions to your superiors or even implement your own steps towards eco-friendly enterprise. So when it comes to business travel, here are a few things you may want to try.
- Skip the trip; telecommute! Is there any business tool more eco-friendly than a phone or computer that allows for teleconferencing? These days there are so many options for connecting with colleagues and business partners that there’s practically no need to waste time and money on business trips. Plus, telecommuting is a great way for employees and companies alike to go green, which is not only good for improving brand image, but also for the green benefits that come with reducing one’s carbon footprint.
- Look for green lodgings. You may be surprised to learn that more and more hotel chains are developing an environmentally-sound attitude for operation. While you might not have an easy time locating LEED certified lodgings on your trip, you can check in with the Green Hotel Association to find establishments that promote conservation, reduce waste and pollution, and generally take steps to ensure that their businesses do less harm to the ecosystems and communities that support them. And the best news is that they may even pass some of the monetary savings along to their guests.
- Support local businesses. Whether you’re seeking a meal, sending out laundry, or looking for gifts to bring back to your kids, do your homework to find vendors that offer local wares. You can often find restaurants that use local or organic foodstuffs. And there are probably plenty of locally-owned stores that feature unique gifts made by artists and craftspeople in the area. This not only means you’re helping to support a community (rather than a corporate entity); you’re also cutting down on the massive amounts of pollution created by the shipping industry.
- BYOB. Okay, so this normally stands for “bring your own beer”. But in this case let’s say that the second “B” in the phrase is bottle. You might go through untold disposable beverage containers on your trip, especially if you end up in a place where it’s not generally considered safe to drink the water. But instead of promoting this wasteful attitude, bring a reusable sports bottle that has its own filter so you can get the clean drinking water you want, take it with you on the go, and cut back on your waste. You could also consider bringing all your own toiletries in reusable travel bottles instead of opening the samples at the hotel.
- Use mass transit. You may not be able to get to your destination without taking a plane, but once you arrive you need not rely on a solo vehicles (like a cab or a pricy rental car complete with assurance auto coverage, for example). Instead, get yourself a public transit pass for the duration of your trip and download a map (or an app for your smartphone) that shows you the routes and schedules. Or if your lodgings are fairly close to your office, see about renting a bike for a few days.