The 2023 green travel policy for benefit corporations: what it is and how to structure it10/27/2021
Why adopt a green travel policy? Sustainability is a term we are hearing more and more about, especially in the travel industry as air travel is responsible for the 2,5% of global CO2 emissions. Sustainable travel is therefore becoming a priority for companies, especially for benefit corporations (B-corp) that aim to bring positive effects on the environment, society and to create awareness of the interconnections between people, nature, behaviors and consequences both globally and within the company’s own community. We can, therefore, summarize the importance of sustainability at the corporate level in three concepts:
A green travel policy is important because it brings awareness and education on a very important issue that needs to be dealt with more than ever in this particular historical moment.
Implement your own green travel policy
Having and making available clear guidelines on how to improve the sustainability of corporate travel to all members of the company is definitely the first step to take: deciding which types of travel are necessary and which are not, transforming short business trips into online meetings thanks to available technologies, introducing questionnaires to monitor employees’ uses and habits during business trips, introducing incentives and carbon offsetting services (you can read more about carbon offsetting here). Download our green travel policy template for free here.
Difference between green (or eco-friendly) travel policy and green travel plan
Often looking for information online on the green travel policy you will find sites that talk about the green travel plan, in the paragraphs below you will find the differences between these documents.
The green travel policy is nothing more than a travel policy written from a “green” point of view, that is, in addition to taking into account the company’s expenses and procedures for booking travel, it also takes into account all the behaviors that can make these trips sustainable.
The green travel plan instead was introduced in the UK and is a plan drawn up by the company to reduce the use of cars and promote car sharing services, walking or cycling, the use of public transport in order to make more sustainable all movements that are usually made by car.
Education and awareness
The first step is to educate employees about the importance of sustainability and the environmental impact of all our actions. A green travel policy (but also a green policy in general) is useful only if certain behaviors are already a normality in the current working life; you can not expect employees to implement a sustainable behavior while traveling if then the company does not have separate waste collection or the heating remains on for hours at unnecessary temperatures.
How to make business travel sustainable?
There are several things you can implement in your business reality to be sustainable. For example:
- Online meetings. Limiting travel that can be replaced with online meetings will reduce the environmental impact and increase the productivity of the employee who can better organize his work in the workplace. Provide your employees with all the digital tools to be able to avoid all those trips that are not essential. In addition to this, you need to make sure that your employees have all the directions and contacts of the relevant people to access them. Creating guidelines or offering training to make the best out of an online meeting will surely help your employees optimize the time they would have used while away.
- Travel Habits Questionnaire. Preparing a travel habits questionnaire for employees helps to identify the behaviors of each individual. By collecting this data, it is possible to set goals and intervene where necessary, as well as taking into account all possible aspects.
- Flights. A solution that is certainly sustainable is to prefer direct and non-stop flights, but above all to try to avoid short-haul flights because these are the ones that generate more CO2 per passenger per hour of flight time.
- Sustainability Messages. It may help reduce your company’s environmental impact to incorporate sustainability messages/requests to decide what is needed and what is not.
For example, consider creating messages such as:
- Is travel necessary?
- Can you reach this destination by train?
- If you can, consider booking an airplane flight where you will be able to travel in newer aircraft (such as Boeing 787, Airbus 321 NEO or Airbus 350).
- Need to rent a car? Prefer hybrid or electric models.
- If possible, use public transportation or electric vehicle rentals to get around the city.
- Green Hotel. By now you’ll find many accomodations around that take specific measures to reduce their environmental impact, and many of them also have green certificates.
- Define your green policy goals based on CO2 emissions per day, month, quarter or year. This system can only be used if you have a data collection system based on a CO2 calculator, it will give you the possibility to measure all emissions whether it is a flight, train or hotel stay.
- Team work for sustainability. Having a team made up of people from different departments working as a group is the best way to draft a program regarding sustainability. The more people are aligned on the same topic, the more impactful and correct it will be in every way. This also helps create a sense of responsibility that can be passed on to everyone.
- CO2 offset program. Relying on an agency to manage CO2 offsets is already recognizing that you’re taking your own step toward a more sustainable future. (Learn more here)
- Encouraging the use of green vehicles and hotels. Even when traveling is necessary, you can try to reduce your impact anyway. For this reason, a good solution is to try to encourage your employees to use electric vehicles or car sharing services, and likewise, to stay in hotels that promote a “green” service. (discover here all our tips for a green travel)
- Employee education. Make your employees aware of your sustainability choices, perhaps by explaining the reasons and choices, for example by informing them which hotels are the most “green” services they can use while traveling.
- Choose your goals. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development of the United Nations aims to create a plan of action for the prosperity of people and the planet, to reduce poverty and help make every human action more sustainable for the planet. Within this plan you can find the 17 points:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice and strong institutions
- Partnership for the goals
Adhering to these points therefore means actively engaging in bringing well-being and innovation among employees, the community and the environment; precisely the same values that a Benefit corp brings forward.
Incentivising your employees
You can consider a number of actions to incentivise your employees to have a more sustainable attitude, such as:
- Encourage them to use electric bicycles or scooters by offering to cover part of the cost or a free rental service.
- Incentivize with bonuses those employees who are actively engaged in following the policy or giving useful hints to keep the company’s sustainability level high.
- Incentivize them with services such as charging stations for electric cars, parking for bicycles, providing a timetable or offering to reimburse tickets to those who use the vehicles.
- Encourage and reward those who choose to rent electric cars or scooters.
What can BizAway do to make your trips more sustainable?
We care a lot about our planet and thanks to the partnership with Eden Reforest Project and Lufthansa Innovation Hub (LIH) we were the first platform to implement an automatic calculator for CO2 offsetting. When you book through the platform, whether it’s a flight, a hotel or a train, you’ll be shown the amount of CO2 emitted by that specific booking and the algorithm will tell you the monetary compensation needed to offset it. In fact, for every 10 cents donated, Eden will plant a mangrove, a tree capable, during its 25 years of life, of removing over 308 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere, on an average of 12.3 kg per year per tree.
Thanks to the collaboration with Squake, a LIH’s project, it will also be possible to choose which projects to donate your CO2 offsetting contribution to.
In addition, we have a partnership with Cooltra, a Spanish company that offers individuals and companies mobility on two wheels in Europe. We are the first company in the industry to offer this opportunity for business travel, thanks to this partnership our customers will have access to a fleet of over 17,000 scooters, 64% of which are electric, available in 13 cities in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal with the possibility of renting by minute, by day or even monthly.
From this year we are also a Benefit Company, “This was the natural consequence of a series of initiatives carried out with a positive impact on the territory and the environment,” says Flavio del Bianco, co-founder and CTO of BizAway.
We are active in the local community with the Skillando Digital Volunteering community project for digital natives, supporting the activities of local artists and promoting volunteering through trash pick-up days in the forest or on the beach. The degree of awareness in production and/or service delivery is very important to us when choosing our suppliers.
Download our green travel policy template for free!