How to Go Green on Your Next Business Trip

The ecologically minded may try to meet over Skype, or utilize telephone conference calling, rather than an environmentally taxing trip, but let’s just face it – sometimes travel for business is necessary. However, there’s no need to despair, because just a few tweaks in the choices made when traveling can reduce environmental impact, and may even leave the weary traveler feeling good about getting out of town.

Transportation is one of the biggest emission producing perpetrators. So, whether it’s planes, trains, or automobiles, an ecologically minded business traveler will keep all factors in mind and try to reduce their footprint. It’s a fine line to balance when evaluating costs versus impact, and conceding to find that middle ground requires some education on the various options. The best option is to carpool with several others, which splits the carbon footprint several ways, and even better if the vehicle is a hybrid. If you are the only one travelling, then the train is the next best option. Flying is seen to be the most damaging option, as emissions released at higher altitudes are more detrimental because there is no vegetation to absorb the carbon. If you must fly, then companies such as Uniglobe Travel give you the option of “greening your flight.” This means that carbon offsets are included in the purchase of your ticket.

Another terrific way to reduce your impact on the environment by traveling, and this one is fairly easy, is to make an informed decision on which hotel you stay in. Progressively, hotels are turning over a new leaf for two reasons; one, because guests have shown there’s a huge market for it, and two, they’re finding that being green saves them money at the same time. It’s a win-win situation for all involved. So, they have decided to move a step beyond that little sign advising to use towels more than one time to conserve water and energy, and have been finding a ton of different ways to cater to their greener guests.

In Boston, travelers-in-the-know can have the privilege of staying at the first hotel company to ever offset 100% of their carbon emissions and air pollution; this is The Lenox. They choose to purchase locally produced goods to reduce transportation air impacts, and save 180, 000 gallons of water annually with the use of waterless urinals. All this, and conveniently located in the heart of Boston, which cuts down on emissions while commuting around town.

The Fairmont in Washington D.C provides free parking for guests who drive hybrid vehicles, as well as a free dessert. They have a Green Contest every year where different staff Committees battle it out for the most innovative and effective initiatives, which leads to dozens of new ideas on how to improve what they’re already doing so effectively. The old saying “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” rings false here, as the Fairmont leads the way to a better tomorrow by donating all left-over buffet food to soup kitchens and shelters. Any guest can feel comfortable knowing the money they spent here went way past their own accomodation, and actually helped the community that was their home, if only for their brief stay.

If your business happens to be in Austin Texas, then Habitat Suites would be an excellent choice. They generate power through 108 solar panels on the roof, and whatever electricity they don’t need is given back to the grid for others to use. All bathroom papers and office paper on premises is made out a 100% recycled content, and they make every effort to reduce waste.

The chain of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants are a good quick pick for eco-friendly travel, and are available in cities all across America. They introduced their Earth Care program in 2005, and have been steadily adding initiatives and introducing eco-friendly products to their hotels on a regular basis. Kimpton also has a partnership with the Trust for Public Land and have won awards throughout the nation for practicing such high standards of sustainability. Whether you’re staying in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Seattle, guests can be sure that a Kimpton hotel is implementing new processes to help out the environment while they’re there.

One of the major deterrents of switching over to green travel is the added costs, such as purchasing carbon offsets or going for an eco-hotel rather than an econo-hotel. On the positive side, many businesses have noticed that once they went for their eco-friendly overhaul, they pulled in more clients and more business based on the fact that their environmentally stance is so respected. However, the real rewards do not come from this added profit, but rather the intangible return on your investment; a greener future.


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