For the first time, business travellers can now offset their entire carbon impact directly through a booking platform, but the big question is will they? Online travel management platform, TravelPerk, has partnered with non-profit Atmosfair to offset travellers’ carbon emissions through United Nations-endorsed carbon mitigation projects.
Its GreenPerk product means that for the first time business travellers and their companies have the ability to offset their entire travel-related Carbon Dioxide footprint, directly through the TravelPerk platform.
The modern workforce is increasingly concerned about the impact they are having on the environment, and there is a growing demand for more eco-friendly business travel options and better carbon reporting services. But, the options currently on offer are severely limited and have seen little engagement.
Airlines own offerings for travellers to offset emissions have seen limited success at best while environmental sustainability is becoming the greatest challenge to the industry’s licence to spread the benefits of air connectivity. Airlines may be leading the world with a programme for reducing emissions based on increasing efficiency, but they have not got the ear of the public and remain a soft target for environmental activists.
In the business travel sector there are all ready products to support a greener outlook, but most merely commit to providing data on carbon impact rather than a full, comprehensive solution designed to offset 100% of the carbon generated by business trips. TravelPerk says that with GreenPerk, a company can have a solution “that aligns with their long-term sustainability strategy, all at the click of a button”.
It is clear that TravelPerk is working to deliver new standards for the business travel industry. Last year it introduced FlexiPerk, which permits any booking to refunded minus a 10% fee. In essence it allows businesses to avoid paying over the odds for a flexible fare or being forced to go through what can be complex and time-consuming refund processes.
TravelPerk says GreenPerk “is the only business travel product that is designed to allow a company to offset 100% of its carbon expenditure”. Any customer that signs-up to the new platform will pay EUR27 for every tonne of CO2 emitted by their flights, hotel stays, train journeys, or car rentals. Typically, this works out as 4% of the cost of a business trip, according to TravelPerk, which will go towards carbon mitigation projects.
Meanwhile, to complement GreenPerk’s launch and highlight its own commitment to the environment, TravelPerk is also committing to offsetting 100% of its own carbon expenditure from employee travel. Through the partnership with Atmosfair, the platform will support carbon mitigation projects. These combine effective climate action with sustainable development to promote access to clean energy, poverty reduction, gender equality, protection of local environments and economic growth.
Atmosfair says it works closely with local partners “to deploy the right technologies for each region, helping advance national development goals”. Projects that will be supported by GreenPerk include the construction of household biogas plants in rural Nepal to replace firewood for cooking; the Solar Home System project in Ethiopia that replaces inefficient household kerosene lamps with solar-powered ones; and the construction of biomass plants in India that use crop residues to generate electricity.
The environmental impact of business travel is a critically important issue and something that everyone in our industry has a duty to engage with seriously. Companies now have the option of offsetting all of their carbon directly at booking and make climate a factor for their travel choices and make informed decisions about the environmental impact of their business travel.