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GREEN INNOVATION


JUST LOOK


AT HOW MANY PEOPLE PACK THEIR OWN COFFEE MUGS AND WATER BOTTLES… THAT’S FILTERED THROUGH INTO MORE CONSCIOUS TRAVEL


explains its corporate sustainability leader Bridget Jackson. “We’ve been working for more than a decade to decouple our environmental impacts from our economic growth – with considerable success,” she says. Among the “most effective” techniques have been introducing mandatory approvals for all non client-facing flights, which are now down 89 per cent compared to 2007. The annual distance travelled by PwC UK’s staff has fallen 3.5 per cent, with associated emissions down 12 per cent. This is against a backdrop of around 50 per cent growth in the firm’s revenues. “This equates to a cut in emissions per employee of 20 per cent since 2007 and we’ve set a new target to reduce it even further by 2022,” adds Jackson. Looking at options such as “virtual col-


laboration” over and above physical travel is one practical option, suggests Advito’s Maynard. He cites one global agricultural and commodities company which built on its existing facilities for video conferencing and Skype for Business to invest in an “almost-like-being-there immersive experience” and avoided more than 900 international trips in the process (along with 15,000 hours of employee time spent on travel, too).


ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRAVEL Of course, in many cases, travel is unavoid- able. But buyers can consider alternatives to flights. The aviation industry already con- tributes around 3 per cent of total manmade emissions for the EU, and volumes could increase by as much as 700 per cent in the next 30 years, according to research by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Alternatives, such as rail or road, can be far more environmentally friendly, and a number of platforms are emerging to make those options easier. Loco2, for example, aims to rectify the fact that “navigating through the [train booking] system to get the quickest route or the best-priced ticket can be tricky,” says Loco2 chief executive Dave Ashton. “By booking corporate travel by train, you are cutting emissions by going straight into the heart of a city,” he says, thus “avoiding unnecessary transport to and from airports, adding not only to emissions but also taking up time in the working day”. Then there is carpooling, given a contemporary, corporate-friendly facelift by platforms such as Liftshare, a network which already facilitates around 100,000 shared trips per day. “When two employees share a business trip they not only halve their costs and emissions, but also turn the journey into valuable time – to chat and


140 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019


prepare for the meeting or simply to relax,” says its chief executive Ali Clabburn. “I’ve had some of my best conversations with my team when we’ve shared a journey to a meeting.” Companies can encourage this by implementing HMRC’s lift-sharing allow- ance (an extra 5p per passenger) or by only paying the maximum mileage to those that give a lift to a colleague, she advises. When jumping on a plane is the only


practical option, there are steps travel buyers can take to support a more sustain- able travel infrastructure. That includes opting for airlines committed to more sustainable fuel sources. All members of the Sustainable Aviation


Fuel Users Group have pledged to support the aviation industry’s goal of carbon-neu- tral growth beyond 2020. One member, Virgin Atlantic, hit the headlines recently when it partnered with Lanza Tech for the first commercial flight powered by the group’s sustainable fuel. The volumes aren’t yet there for mass adoption of sustainable fuel sources, admits Burton. Safety approval processes are lengthy, but “at the moment it’s about being aware of what’s available. What consumers can do is be clear that they want this and be always asking for it, even if it’s not available, so airlines will realise people want it and push it out more.”


In the shorter term, buyers can ensure the most direct route is booked, adds Chris D’Arcy, of Travel Counsellors for Business, and fly with less luggage. “Hand luggage requires less fuel and burns less fuel, making the journey more efficient.” Once buyers have cut carbon emissions by taking these steps, they can then choose to offset what’s left by using one of a growing number of services that calculate a carbon cost and channel that into charitable or sustainable projects. An accredited carbon offset plan has been in place at PwC since 2007, says Jackson, and “not only mitigates the climate impacts of our operations, but also protects important


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