Originally produced by GPJ EMEA Senior CSR Manager, David Baldig.
On a recent trip to London, David Baldig shared ways to travel responsibly and resource-efficiently, summarizing his experiences into actionable tips. From choice of accommodations and means of transport, to mindful onsite stewardship, sustainability starts long before you book your trip. As GPJ continues our journey to a truly sustainable company, we provide insights and easy tips for responsible business travel.
General Sustainable Habits
- Responsible travel behavior includes environmental, social and economical aspects.
- Evaluate if business trip is necessary, taking economic efficiency and environmental cost into account.
- Consider if the purpose of the trip can be achieved in another way (e.g. by video conference).
- To avoid unnecessary trips, coordinate to make the trip as efficient and effective as possible.
- When selecting mode of transportation consider eco friendliness, total travel time (door-to-door) and costs.
- Recommendation for transportation preferences: On foot > Bicycle > Public transport / Train > Taxi > Company car > Rental car > Plane
- If a flight cannot be avoided, always select direct flights instead of connecting flights if possible.
- Choose accommodations close to your appointments and/or workplace.
- Select an accommodation that is as environmentally friendly as possible (e.g. with efficiency standards around use of energy, water and resources).
- For longer stays, environmental standards, social welfare and compliance with human rights should be checked.
- Booking short-term rentals like Airbnb are often more environmentally friendly, as these options use less water and electricity, produce fewer emissions overall and provide fewer disposable amenities.
- Hotels with golf courses and pools should be avoided, as they usually consume large amounts of water.
- Pre-plan your itinerary to avoid unnecessary stress and appointment delays.
- Travel documents such as tickets and booking confirmations should be stored on smart phones and not printed out.
And once you’ve reached your destination?
Behavior at Your Destination
- Be mindful of people, nature and the environment.
- Meet residents and partners at eye level. Respect local customs and traditions.
- View religious buildings as cultural sites, not as ‘Instagram moments’. Exercise restraint during religious ceremonies.
- Do not buy souvenirs made from endangered animal and plant species or protected cultural goods.
- Reduce waste and reuse as many things as possible. Waste should be disposed of carefully and appropriately. Opportunities for recycling to be used. Set an example.
Meals and Drink
- Avoid takeaway cups. Ideally, use your own reusable cup and bottle.
- Eat in restaurants instead of taking food away. Avoid disposable packaging and goods (e.g. straws and portion packs).
- Reduce the proportion of meat, fish and dairy products, increase ratio of vegan and vegetarian products.
- Keep food waste to a minimum through thoughtful consumption.
- Avoid plastic bags (use your own reusable bag) and plastic bottles (especially where recycling options are not available).
At Your Accommodations
- Cancel room cleaning if not needed (e.g. with a “Do not disturb” sign).
- Use of towels and bed linen for several days, clarify this directly at check-in or check hotel policies.
- Use the sanitary facilities in a way that saves water.
- Switch off lights, appliances and TVs when leaving the room.
- Switch off the air conditioning or heaters when you’re leaving the hotel room for a longer time – or leave them off completely.
- Close the windows when leaving the room.
- Opened hygiene products provided by the hotel can be taken away. If used products are left behind, they will be disposed of directly, unless otherwise advertised by the hotel.
- Use of the hotel laundry only as an exception. Often, a guest’s clothes are washed individually, which wastes a lot of water and energy.