How to be More Sustainable in your Business Travel Plans

How to be More Sustainable in your Business Travel Plans

How to be More Sustainable in your Business Travel Plans
26th July 2022

Business travel is crucially important for any international corporation. In addition to ensuring cohesion across global operations, business travel enables corporations to build and maintain effective partnerships and client relationships. However, to ensure business travel remains a viable enterprise, corporations must act to ensure their business travel plans reduce the associated environmental impact as much as possible. Whether through minimising energy usage or offsetting carbon emissions, taking steps towards sustainable business travel is now a key priority for all businesses looking to optimise their ESG profile.

With a range of initiatives in place to help our clients optimise their business travel plans for sustainability, here at SilverDoor we have the expertise to help you on your way to a more sustainable future. Join us as we explore the many ways you and your business can be more sustainable when it comes to business travel.

Make the most of your journeys

sustainable business travel meeting room
Extending business trips to make the most of time spent in a given destination is a simple way to reduce the carbon footprint of business travel programmes

In the post-pandemic travel market, we have observed a shift in corporate travel booking habits. As outlined in our 2022 Business Travel Forecast, business travellers have begun taking fewer but longer-lasting corporate trips. Whether in response to travel restrictions, heightened demand, increasing cost, or safety concerns, this trend appears to be here to stay.

A positive outcome of this booking preference is the inherent sustainability benefits it brings. With strategic planning, business trips can be coordinated to fulfil multiple functions throughout a sustained period of meetings, collaborative events, and targeted outcomes. As a result, fewer journeys are required for guests – greatly reducing the potential carbon footprint, especially if flights are required. By eliminating the need for multiple repeat journeys with a little forward planning, organisations can produce a much more sustainable business travel programme. Of course, to ensure travellers are best situated for these extended corporate trips, serviced apartments are the natural choice.

Choose serviced apartments over hotels

serviced apartment
Serviced apartments feature a plethora of energy saving features which elevate them above hotels when it comes to sustainability

Serviced apartments are not only perfectly suited to business travellers, they are also better suited to sustainable business travel than traditional hotels. In addition to producing less CO2, on average, than hotels, serviced apartments feature a range of sustainability innovations.

Less water usage

Hotels typically wash bed linen and towels daily – using millions of litres of water every year. Conversely, the serviced apartment model – typically providing a weekly laundry and housekeeping service – uses a fraction of the amount of water. Not only does this save on water wastage, it also drastically reduces the amount of energy expended through the washing and drying processes.

Self-sufficiency

In a serviced apartment, guests have everything they need to live completely self-sufficiently. The sustainability benefits are manifold – not least due to the carbon-efficient and waste reducing lifestyle of cooking and eating at home. Furthermore, when a family or group of business travellers opt to co-habit in a serviced apartment, energy usage per person drops, collectively reducing the carbon footprint of each traveller.

Accreditation and other sustainability measures

Increasingly, serviced apartment operators are seeking to make their properties more sustainable as to capture a larger portion of the corporate market. By working with leading accrediting agencies, operators are optimising their processes to reduce their carbon footprint. Just as at SilverDoor we have achieved ISO 14001 in addition to other environmental management certifications such as REST and albert, more and more operators are following suit. Furthermore, our global sustainability survey is feeding data into our systems, enabling clients to browse properties by various sustainability criteria and thereby meet their ESG targets. 

Carbon Offsetting

sustainable business travel carbon offsetting with tree planting
Tree planting schemes, such as that provided by Trees4Travel, enable corporations to offset all carbon emissions related to their travel programmes

Although business travel will never be completely carbon neutral, there are methods of offsetting its environmental impact. To facilitate our clients’ ESG objectives, in 2021 we partnered with Trees4Travel – and the platform has provided peace of mind for clients looking to mitigate their carbon footprint ever since.

The T4T scheme calculates the carbon footprint of a given journey – both in terms of transportation and accommodation – and notifies the client of the cost and time required to offset these emissions through tree planting. By using this simple and convenient system, clients pay a small price to minimise their environmental impact while helping to reforest designated reforestation areas around the world.

Furthermore, for every tree planted by one of our clients, we pledge to plant another – our small contribution to help accelerate the business travel carbon offsetting process.

Travel Green

plane view sustainable business travel
Even travelling by plane has scales of carbon efficiency that can impact a trip's overall carbon footprint

Taking measured steps to avoid high-carbon transportation requires considerable planning, but it does severely reduce the overall carbon footprint of a given trip. Air travel is often unavoidable for international trips – but even here there are ways to reduce environmental impact. Carefully selecting the airline, and even the model of plane, used for your business trip can help reduce emissions. Sites such as atmosfair provide detailed insights into the carbon efficiency of airlines – it’s a great place to start when preparing business travel plans.

But sustainable business travel considerations don’t stop at the airport. Every aspect of a business travel journey needs to be considered to reduce its carbon footprint. Ensuring that serviced apartments are chosen above hotels enables travellers to stay as close to their regional office as possible - reducing emissions from commuting. Where further vehicular travel is unavoidable, making the most of the available public transportation (if not walking/cycling) is best. Any of the aforementioned options are more carbon efficient than the use of a car/taxi, but where renewable energy or carbon neutral methods are available, they should be utilised.

The age of COVID -19 reminded us that while virtual meetings are useful for maintaining long-distance business relationships, ultimately, they are a poor substitution for in-person meetings. Business travel is here to stay – whether in its traditional form or part of emerging nomadic travel trends. To learn more about making your business travel programme sustainable, contact our teams today.   


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