For many organizations, flying is responsible for a large part of their footprint. Using data from thirty of our biggest clients, we analysed their CO2 footprints. Flying makes up an average of 18% of the total footprint – at some organizations it’s even as high as 75%! What can your organization do to minimize the impact of your flying?
Tip 1: Fly less
Yes, this is still the best way to limit the impact. In many organizations, a policy restricting business (air) travel is becoming the norm. Flying is only allowed when absolutely necessary. Often cost reduction is the driving force behind this policy, but it also helps the climate. This kind of policy stimulates the making of informed choices and introduces additional options for meeting with others, such as video conferencing and internet meetings. Many organizations have found that they can reduce the number of flights by 25 to 40% with this policy, which also increases employee effectiveness and enhances their work life balance. We believe that “steering” the reduction of climate impact can also influence employee choices. It is a question of ambitions and goals.
Tip 2: Consider alternatives
Looking at alternatives for shorter distances is certainly an option. Flying is the fastest way to travel, especially for intercontinental travel. But the default is often flying to places close by, like Paris and Frankfurt from the Netherlands. Considering the train for trips like this is definitely worthwhile as the travel time by air or by train is almost the same. In addition to not taking any longer, the train is less stressful and it is easy to get some serious work done because of amenities like WiFi and quiet areas. There are also railway companies that are working on switching to real green energy, which will make the train even better in terms of climate impact.
Tip 3: Always fly direct
Minimize flight mileage when you fly from A to B. Choose a direct flight and avoid transfers. There are several reasons to opt for a direct flight. Not only is it faster and more relaxed, but the impact on the climate is more than just the extra kilometres: taking off uses relatively more fuel, which releases much more CO2. Taking off two or more times is inefficient and creates a lot of unnecessary CO2 emissions.
Tip 4: Choose the flight with the lowest impact
Unfortunately the facts are not yet all available to make it is possible to choose the flight with the lowest impact. The monitoring of airlines (and flights) is in development, which will make it easier for travellers in the future to more easily choose a flight with the lowest CO2 emissions. There are reasons why different flights have more or less impact on the climate. The type and age of the airplane play a major role. Another important consideration in determining the CO2 emission per passenger is how efficiently the plane is loaded with passengers and cargo. There is an annual Airline Index (AAI) that compares 125 airlines (scheduled and charter) with each other in terms of CO2 efficiency. The differences between the best and the worst performing airlines can be up to 70% of CO2 emissions. KLM, the only Dutch airline in the index, scores well for long flights, but significantly less for short flights. Many well-known airlines are not on the list, which does not help us make a choice.
More tips? We would be happy to help you further with gaining insight, achieving reduction and offsetting.
Please contact us by calling +31 (0)30 232 61 75 and asking for Marjan Verbeek