With an optimistic, yet cautious, outlook ahead for business travel in 2023, business travellers are on the move again and should be aiming to be as responsible and sustainable as possible. Here are some simple, and immediate, ways that you, as a business traveller, can make a positive impact when you’ve arrived at your destination.
1) Research local customs
Before travelling to your destination, find out as much as you can about its local culture – both social and work-related. Business etiquette can be different to your own country, so being respectful of local customs can make a positive impact on the community. Make sure you know the basic rules so you can be confident when greeting, working or interacting with international colleagues or communities.
Did you know…? Reed & Mackay clients have access to R&M/Protect in its technology suite and can view information such as business formalities and attire, local infrastructure and social customs, as well as everything else you need to know about a destination.
2) Be greener on the ground
Public transit routes like trains, subway systems and buses can be great options for sustainable business travel. To increase the adoption of public transport be sure to book hotels that are within walking distance to transport links or, even better, are in walking distance to your offices and client locations. Many major cities also have bicycles or scooters available for rent to get you from point A to B faster and cleaner.
Alternatively, why not switch to lower emission vehicles? Taxi and rental car providers often offer a selection of electric or hybrid vehicles that could be used.
Top tip: Download helpful apps, from local public transport journey planners and bike and e-mobility maps to meeting room booking apps. Having these available means smarter and greener choices can be made once you get there.
3) Leave no trace
It’s important to respect the environment you’re visiting in the same way you would your home environment. Continue to advocate for environmental sustainability by following ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.
With a significant rise in blended business and leisure travel, if you’re visiting historical sites or nature trails during any leisure time you have in your itinerary, or on breaks between meetings, do all you can to preserve their natural or cultural splendour. Follow designated paths, respect the rules, listen to the caretakers and follow the mantra of ‘take only photos and leave only footprints’.
At the same time, be sure to dispose of any litter thoroughly or take it with you. This ensures the long-term health of the natural environment, and the welfare of animals, while maintaining enjoyable recreation in nature for all.
Top tip: A simple switch to help be a no-trace traveller is to avoid single-use plastic. Bring a reusable cup, water bottle and cutlery set with you.
4) When in rome (or wherever the destination)
The saying ‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’ still applies today. While you’re visiting a destination for business, engage in the local culture where you can. These trips provide the opportunity to see the world through a different lens. Experience unique cultures by visiting local markets, attending local festivals or eating local delicacies.
5) Travel that supports your business and theirs
To help uplift the economic sustainability of a destination, support local businesses. For example, sample the food at locally run restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients and less single-use packaging. This is a great way to immerse yourself into the culture while being responsible and supporting the long-term economic growth of a community. Similarly, in any leisure time you have, hire local guides who have in-depth destination knowledge, for a more enriching experience.
Talk to your TMC about choosing accommodation where they’re investing in social sustainability by employing local people and promoting the culture of the area. Sustainable hotels working with their communities help uphold the local economy, increase education and create more career opportunities for local residents.
Top tip: Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and ask about the origin of products before purchase.
6) take part in environment and community enhancing activities
In the Groups, Meetings and Events arena it’s important to investigate the sustainability offering of venues and facilities that will be used for corporate events.
Companies can organise and host a myriad of impactful activities during meetings and events. These can create social and environmental benefits while helping an organisation reach their sustainability goals. Why not tie in activities such as beach cleaning, community volunteering and tree planting, which will help leave a location in a better condition than you found it?