Climate change, environmental protection and sustainability have been important topics for many years. We only have one Earth, so it’s important that we act responsibly, use the available resources sparingly and also take a critical look at our own ecological footprint. The oceans are being polluted, animal species are becoming extinct and climate disasters are increasing worldwide. Everyone can take small steps to try to reduce environmental impact.
That’s why we’re looking at environmentally conscious travel, or more precisely, sustainable business travel. Even though times have changed and more and more business meetings are being done via video calls, more sustainable business travel is also important. Our tips cover how to travel sustainably, what to look out for, and how and where to find sustainable hotels that value a low ecological footprint.
What does sustainable travel mean?
Sustainable travel means that you keep your ecological footprint to a minimum. Protect the environment by paying close attention to how you get to your destination. A cheap budget airline should not necessarily be your first choice if there are sensible alternatives like trains or ride sharing. Talk to your colleagues about travel options, get informed and don’t be wasteful when it comes to natural resources.
Why should you travel sustainably?
Global warming is increasing, there are more and more climate catastrophes and a large number of animal species worldwide are threatened with extinction. We need to act and think about the future, for our children and all following generations. Environmental protection is one of the most important points to keep our planet healthy and to improve its current state.
Is sustainable travel expensive?
Sustainable travel is also conscious travel. This does not necessarily have to be more expensive. On the contrary, you often get more quality and can go to sleep at night with a clear conscience. Thanks to modern technology, you can compare prices on the Internet even before you travel, for example for rail travel (vs. air travel) or when choosing a hotel. The hotel portal HRS, for instance, attaches great importance to sustainable booking decisions.
Sustainability approved hotels
Many people think of sustainable travel primarily in terms of their mode of transportation or how to be as environmentally friendly as possible while they’re there. But did you know that hotel stays account for 21% of the emissions of an average (business) trip? More and more hotels are now adapting their operations to environmentally friendly standards. For example, they measure the CO2 emissions generated per overnight stay and rely on solar and wind energy, or now consciously choose regional and seasonal dishes that are prepared fresh every day.
With the Green Stay Initiative, the hotel portal HRS evaluates the ecological footprint of hotels on the basis of standardized data in order to make them transparent and comparable for travelers. Specifically, this involves values relating to water and energy consumption, the use of disposable plastic, food and waste disposal management, and much more. Some of the largest hotel chains worldwide, such as Marriott and Accor, have already adapted the Green Stay Label. This way, travelers can raise their awareness of responsible and sustainable travel and also contribute to the moderate use of ecological resources while traveling.
Tips for traveling sustainably
In addition to eco-friendly lodging, however, there are three other important points you can take to heart when traveling:
When it comes to travel, the choice of transportation is particularly important to protect the environment. You should avoid flights, especially for short distances. Within the US you can use Amtrak or regional train service in some areas, as well as buses. In Europe, the rail network is well developed. You can reach your destination comfortably and use the longer travel time for reading, working or relaxing.
Avoid creating garbage
Avoid waste whenever possible. Try to buy unpackaged fruit in the supermarket, separate the garbage properly and thus support waste management. In particular, avoiding plastic packaging (when possible) is important for preventing plastic waste in the ocean.
Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, take a shower rather than a bath, turn off the lights behind you, don’t set the heat or air conditioning too high in your hotel room, and so on; it’s the little things that add up to a big impact.