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Greener Business Travel Gains Momentum

August 25, 2005 – While the Bush Administration continued to snub global warming at the recent G8 Summit, the other seven nations – and the rest of the world – as well as multi-national corporations, are already moving toward curbing greenhouse gas emissions. One of their main targets: travel. Currently, transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions pose the greatest threat to the earth’s climate, which has led businesses to take a hard look at their own needs, as well as how climate-friendly their travel suppliers are. “This is not a passing trend,” explains Sustainable Travel International’s Vice President Peter Krahenbuhl, “The science behind global warming is solid and businesses, including airlines, are savvy enough to know that their own survival depends on the health of the planet.”

Many major corporations have already moved in the direction of offsetting their “in-house” greenhouse gas emission impacts and analyzing the financial risks of global climate change. HSBC Bank, the world’s second largest bank, for example, is cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by five percent. Even Ford Motor Co. recently announced it will report on the business implications of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its motor vehicles and production facilities. Numerous other organizations, from major utility companies such as Seattle City Light, to progressive companies like Ben & Jerry’s and MTV’s “Trippin'” series are aggressively pursuing carbon neutrality, and they’re reaping the green marketing benefits.

Related to travel offsets, Nike has partnered with Delta Airlines to offset carbon dioxide emissions. For every flight booked by Nike staff with Delta Airlines, a small portion of the ticket price goes into funds for purchasing carbon emission reductions. The result was an eight percent booking increase of Nike clients on Delta flights. Another example, BP designed gas cards for Interface USA, the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, to purchase emissions reductions with rebates for staff fueling at BP stations. Interface experienced a five-fold increase in sales as a result, with revenue that was used to finance energy efficiency in U.S. schools.

“It’s a great marketing, branding and customer loyalty tool,” continues Krahenbuhl, “It also defines the triple bottom line idea. Companies can achieve competitive advantage against non-climate-friendly products and enhance their bottom lines while eliminating their climate-related impacts and delivering benefits to local communities.” Companies have some options when it comes to greening their businesses and addressing their travel related impacts, including teleconferencing and utilizing public transport instead of driving or flying. However, for most of us flying is inevitable, and working with airlines and other organizations that support carbon neutral travel is the best solution.

Sustainable Travel International, for example, offers the MyClimate carbon offsets program for travelers, travel businesses, and corporations. Carbon offsets purchased at any time before, during or after booking airfare fund climate friendly programs, such as renewable energy projects across the globe. In the U.S., MyClimate has already caught the eye of smaller airlines, including Nature Air who offers flights throughout Costa Rica, and with progressive tour operators like Natural Habitat Adventures who specializes in polar bear viewing and other nature-related adventures.

With options such as this (airlines take note), companies are quickly learning that the sky is literally the limit!





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