I just returned from my first business trip in what feels like ages. We visited a customer in Barcelona and enjoyed every bit of it. We loved being out there again, seeing our customer in person, and steering clear of Zoom for a change. But the trip cost time and money, and it didn’t meet sustainability goals. Airplanes rarely do.
So, how should we live our lives and run our companies in a global economy while protecting our planet from destruction? I apologize upfront for being unable to provide a clear-cut answer to that question. But I’m willing to give it a shot. Here’s a 3-step plan to help protect the planet without dying in your home office from a yet-to-be-discovered Zoom condition.
1. Cut your travel program spend in half
How many trips did employees take in 2019? Calculate your travel program spend and cut it in half in 2022. This will allow for sufficient in-person meetings and help employees get the most out of the remaining Zoom or Teams meetings. People who jump on planes and trains should have all the necessary information at their fingertips. From Covid and duty of care to the nearest gyms and the best restaurants: they need to know everything right away. Last but not least, they should always (I repeat, always!) know where and how to get help — especially in this day and age.
2. Go green
In Amsterdam, we have Uber Green, and I love it. It’s the only type of Uber ride I get. Of course, there are other green options. For example, you can ask your employees to take the train or walk to their destination, depending on the location and distance. And how about renting a bike, using an electric step, or sharing a ride with a co-worker? Each of these options saves money, is good for the environment, and promotes your employees’ health. What are you waiting for? Go for it. Go green!
3. Support sustainable fuel
Big companies need to step up and help airlines become greener and more sustainable — for example, by supporting a company like SKYNRG, which operates in the sustainable fuel business. Is it more expensive? Yes. But hey — you just cut your travel program spend in half, and employees walk and cycle to their destinations. It’s time to take things up a notch!
Do you think getting your CFO’s approval for these initiatives will be difficult? And do you fear implementing them will require effort? I hear you. On the other hand, I’d like to ask if you’re up for the challenge. The journey won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile. If you decide to embark on it, I’ll root for your success. And if you encounter any issues or questions — now or somewhere down the road — we might be able to help. You know where to find us.
Markus Emmer Co-founder of Roadmap (an Emburse company)