Sustainability In Travel
Prioritizing sustainability decisions is becoming increasingly important for businesses and individuals. Not only is ATG doing its part through...
Sustainability in Travel
Tackling the environmental concerns of business travel
Sustainability in the Travel Industry
62% of executives consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive today
Prioritizing sustainability decisions is becoming increasingly important for businesses and individuals. Not only is ATG doing its part through paperless processes, a greatly reduced commuting environment, and a robust virtual workplace, ATG offers critical and timely data to help businesses review and create policy decisions based on their own travel CO2 footprint. Business travel is an essential tool for today’s commerce, and traveling across the country and the globe are required for businesses to be successful. While necessary, this travel does contribute to CO2 output.
Society is becoming more aware of our individual and corporate impact on the environment, and that our combined movement towards a sustainable future is critical. Sustainability initiatives for business travel are becoming more important for many companies: 62% of executives consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive today, and another 22% think it will be in the future. As businesses increasingly prioritize sustainability as an essential part of their travel policies, ATG can provide the necessary data for informed policy decisions. With a focus on corporate responsibility, CO2 output for travel booked via ATG, is a reportable factor.
ATG offers proprietary reporting that measures the environmental impact of business travel. Beyond just measuring the total CO2 footprint of travel, ATG assists in establishing goals for our corporate clients that help drive sustainability decisions. Available actions include preferential direction for suppliers that promote sustainable behaviors, calculating CO2 emissions per trip and its cost per mile, and encouraging traveling employees to book ‘greener’ options.
Business Travel & the Environment
From Medium.com / Sep 13, 2019
The word ‘flygskam’ is a recent Swedish neologism. It’s made up of two words: ‘flyg’ which means ‘flight’ and ‘skam’ which means ‘shame’. It encapsulates the feeling of guilt, or shame, which can come from knowing the environmental impact of travelling by plane. And flygskam is now becoming a global movement, with people pledging to fly less and opting to travel by train instead of plane. It’s a movement built out of individuals feeling guilt for their own personal contributions to the climate crisis.
It seems that now people are starting to catch on to the environmental impact of flying. Over the last two decades planes have become much more energy efficient. Fuel consumption has gone from 6.3 litres per person per 100 kilometres to around 3.7 litres per person per 100 kilometres.
Saying that, though, flying is still by far the most damaging form of travel. A return flight from London to New York alone produces nearly two tons of CO2 equivalent emissions. In 2014 the transportation working group for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report which estimated that the direct greenhouse gas emissions from aviation made up 10.62% of total global transportation emissions in 2010.
Plus, research suggests that the emissions from air travel may be even more damaging, with the height increasing their impact. The contrails can form clouds that trap thermal radiation, and at that height, other emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, also contribute to warming. Because of this, some have estimated the total warming caused by planes to be at least double the amount caused by the emissions alone.
It's important to note that even if the 'shaming' angle can be initially motivating, it can quickly become a debilitating emotion, leaving us focused on despair rather than continuing to push for environmental change. But for now, flygskam is starting to make a difference. And although choosing not to fly is an individual decision, it’s also becoming a group movement.
For example, in 2017 bookings for air travel in Sweden fell by 3%. In the same year, 50% more interrailling tickets were purchased than in 2016. It can often feel that as individuals our actions have little consequence. But this is proof of what can happen when individual action becomes group action.
Reducing customer demand is just one way of boycotting the aviation industry. If we pledge to fly less, and choose to give our money to train companies instead, then there will be less demand for flights and so the number of flights will have to be reduced. The flygskam movement is successfully doing this — and so it’s hard to be too critical about it. But we need to keep the focus on reducing plane travel as a whole, rather than feeling guilt on a personal level.
Advancements & Changes
How the aviation industry is making a difference
Reducing climate change is a serious global challenge. Commercial aviation is responsible for about 2% of global carbon emissions. In 2009 the industry put in place an ambitious and robust carbon emissions strategy, with targets and a four-pillar action plan.
IATA recognizes the need to address the global challenge of climate change and adopted a set of ambitious targets to mitigate CO2 emissions from air transport:
- An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020
- A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth)
- A reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels
- Improved technology, including the deployment of sustainable low-carbon fuels
- More efficient aircraft operations
- Infrastructure improvements, including modernized air traffic management systems
- A single global market-based measure, to fill the remaining emissions gap
“It is our duty to protect the planet from the disastrous impacts of climate change.
Some say that the answer to climate change is to stop or heavily reduce flying. That would have grave consequences for people, jobs, and economies the world over. It would be a step backward to an isolated society that is smaller, poorer and constrained.
I say, let’s work together to make flying sustainable. CO2 is the problem. We can and are doing something meaningful to reduce it.”
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO.
A global market-based measure for aviation
In 2016, the 39th ICAO Assembly concluded with the adoption of a global offsetting scheme to address CO2 emissions from international aviation. The agreement at ICAO demonstrates that aviation is determined to live up to its commitments and play its part in meeting international goals for emissions reduction.
The scheme established by ICAO is a global offsetting mechanism, called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). CORSIA aims to help address any annual increase in total CO2 emissions from international civil aviation above 2020 levels.
Each new generation of aircraft is on average 20% more fuel efficient than the model it replaces and over the next decade airlines will invest $1.3 trillion in new planes.
ATG & Sustainability
What we do to help you reduce your carbon footprint
Carbon Footprint & Offsets
What is 'Carbon Footprint'?
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide—released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. A carbon footprint can be a broad measure or be applied to the actions of an individual, a family, an event, a company, or even an entire nation. It is usually measured as tons of CO2 emitted per year, a number that can be supplemented by tons of CO2-equivalent gases, including methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases.
How is a carbon footprint calculated?
When calculating a carbon footprint, a lot of factors are taken into consideration. For example, driving to the grocery store burns a certain amount of fuel, and fossil fuels are the primary sources of greenhouses gases. But that grocery store is powered by electricity, and its employees probably drove to work, so the store has its own carbon footprint. In addition, the products that the store sells were all shipped there, so that must also be factored into the total carbon footprint. Beyond that, the fruits, vegetables, and meats that the store sells were all grown or raised on farms, a process that produces methane, which has a greenhouse effect 25 times greater than CO2. All of those elements must be combined to understand the full carbon footprint of a given activity.
How does a company calculate its carbon footprint?
Guidelines for companies are published by a variety of government and private agencies. Internationally recognized methodologies are used to determine the emissions produced by your company. New tools and calculations are provided for businesses to assess their carbon footprint to understand the environmental impact of the business. These tools are not perfect but they offer a real probability of impact on which businesses can make decisions on how to better control its environmental impact. Understanding your carbon footprint is the first step to reducing a business’ carbon footprint, through conservation, retooling, use of alternative & ‘clean fuels’, reduction of the use of fossil fuels and buying carbon offsets.
What is a carbon offset?
Carbon offsets are a practical and effective way to address climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy. The idea is to counteract the corporate carbon footprint of the business, while contributing to a more sustainable future.
How Carbon Offsets Work:
Businesses and corporations can use carbon offset as part of their strategy to meet sustainability goals.
The money used to purchase carbon offsets goes to pay for a reduction in greenhouse gases that has already occurred.
Climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. To learn more about Carbon Offsetting and the international effort to contribute to a cleaner planet, check out this video:
ATG is able to produce multiple reports to help reduce your carbon footprint in all your travels.
Click on the image below to zoom in and see the data ATG provides in these reports.
Beyond just environmental action
UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals
“The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously by 193 Heads of State and other top leaders at a summit at UN Headquarters in New York in September 2015.
“They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success,” he added of the 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.
This is a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve the 17 SDGs over the next 15 years. The goals address the needs of people in both developed and developing countries, emphasizing that no one should be left behind. Broad and ambitious in scope, the Agenda addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental, as well as important aspects related to peace, justice and effective institutions.
The mobilization of means of implementation, including financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, as well as the role of partnerships, are also acknowledged as critical.
The 17 SDGs build on the eight MDGs, which specifically sought by 2015: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
These SDGs stress everything from zero poverty, zero hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and affordable clean energy, to decent work and economic growth, innovation, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, responsible consumption, climate action, unpolluted oceans and land, and partnerships to achieve the goals.
“The Paris Agreement is a triumph for people, the planet, and for multilateralism. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to address climate change. By addressing climate change we are advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Mr. Ban said.
Turning this vision into reality is primarily the responsibility of countries, but it will also require new partnerships and international solidarity. Everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make. Reviews of progress will need to be undertaken regularly in each country, involving civil society, business and representatives of various interest groups.
At the regional level, countries will share experiences and tackle common issues, while on an annual basis at the UN, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), will take stock of progress at the global level, identifying gaps and emerging issues, and recommending corrective action. The SDGs will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. These are compiled into an Annual SDG Progress Report.
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Why This Matters To ATG
Sustainability is so much more than just working towards reducing our CO2 emissions: it means working towards making the planet better in every facet of life. It is our duty, and our privilege, to confront the social impact our business has on the environment and on our employees and the communities in which we serve.