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From Planes back to Trains and Automobiles

Series on Sustainability
1. An Introduction to Global Warming and Climate Change
2. The Costs of Air Travel
3. From Planes back to Trains and Automobiles
4. Series on Sustainability: In Our Wildest Dreams…
5. How to Become a Sustainable Business Using Telephony


In this instalment of the sustainability series, we thought it would be interesting to take a moment to take a closer look at air travel for business purposes. In the last post, we talked about the cost of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment and how its intensity seems to be growing exponentially. Here, we want to share some of our own ideas and strategies for minimizing our carbon footprint by changing our behaviour when it comes to business travel.

Business travel is a topic to worry about. It’s true that with the globalization of the economy moving as fast as it is today, there are some instances where it might be necessary to make the plane journey to face-to-face meetings. Albeit the sustainability issues, we won’t deny that, as some of our staff have out-of-country meetings which require air travel, too. For international partnerships which require crossing the ocean, we absolutely understand that it’s just not plausible to hop on the Queen Mary II to get across the Atlantic from the East Coast to fight the global climate change.

Cut back on business travel

However, there are a number of meetings that don’t require such long and difficult distances. There are plenty of times where carpooling or a train journey can take the place of a flight. Sure, it may take longer to arrive, but these alternative forms of sustainable transportation have their bonuses. Think about the time you could spend discussing the details for an important meeting with your colleagues, or simply just take some time out of your busy schedule to watch the world go by.

Currently, jet fuel, aviation gasoline as well as plane tickets are taxed very low (up to no taxes, for example in Germany) which has given the opportunity for airlines to offer lower and lower ticket prices. Moreover, many cheap airlines in Europe compete for the cheapest fares and are able to cut the prices, while railway providers (who offer green travel and a possibility for ecotourism) lag behind. As such, inexpensive air travel has become integrated into our business lives that we are so easily persuaded and addicted to traveling.

A European organization which promotes “a transport policy based on the principles of sustainable development” called Transport and Environment has created a briefing which suggests the possibility of a drastic increase in taxes in favour of sustainable tourism. In this case, ticket prices would inevitably be forced to rise. Now, for large, multinational companies, such an increase in the price of travel may not make a big difference regarding their monthly expenses. However, this could seriously damage midsize and smaller businesses who are at the core of economic growth and arguably the largest generators of today’s jobs. Even the slightest increases to their travel expenses, even if they are caused by sustainable practices, could create major budgeting issues, and even potential collapse of their businesses.

Maybe it’s not ideal or convenient to change the way we travel for business from flying to more sustainable transportation, but at the rate we are going, not only might businesses collapse under the financial pressures, but our planet, too. Changing to sustainable resources when it comes to traveling is absolutely necessary: the less we opt for unnecessary travel, the less flights are needed per day between destinations. This means that the large amount of carbon emissions from a large amount of flights can be drastically minimized, contributing to environmental protection! (In case you forgot, we suggest you reread our last article about the cost of air travel for global warming!)

Sustainable management by means of conference call services

Luckily, conference call services as we provide them can help out. In any case, making use conference call services will not be affected by a tax increase, meaning that businesses do not have to fear budgeting issues (to be honest, they are probably even cheaper compared to air travel!). Besides reduced cost, it saves every business traveller time, jet lags and offers a possibility to reduce our carbon footprint. And, last but not least, it does not produce any carbon emissions, making a huge impact global warming and climate change.

Also, corporate sustainability becomes more and more important for brands in terms of marketing and external communication. Many customers prefer sustainable companies over competitors without a sustainable strategy. By making a conference call with international colleagues instead of traveling by plane, your company makes a first step into becoming a sustainable business.

So, let’s think about those smaller, shorter trips and meetings which could be eliminated altogether. Think about the time, money, effort and greenhouse gas emissions that can be saved from using teleconferencing rather than traveling to and from constant meetings between national and international offices. Contact us today to get your toll free virtual number as soon as possible and help us save our precious planet!

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