Eco-friendly business travel may be on the horizon
As travel begins to resume across the world, the global pandemic has meant considering how we’re going to be able to fly safely once again.
More importantly, it has given us the opportunity to reflect on our carbon footprint (the amount of carbon dioxide that our activities release into the atmosphere) whenever we fly and how we can try and create eco-friendly travel.
Flying is certainly the most fuel-intensive form of travel, and so the restrictions imposed during COVID 19 has seen positives insofar as eco-friendly travel. Less airline travel has equalled less CO2 emissions.
Aside from the pressing topic of airline travel emissions, many of us have adapted and made working from home a temporary, or permanent fixture.
Via greater use of tech, we’re able to connect seamlessly with colleagues and such like across the world, and whenever we like.
But what if we do need to travel for business as we once did and fly as frequently again? And when business travel resumes how can we stay aware of our carbon footprint and try and make our trips eco-friendly?
Firstly, to boost eco-friendly travel we could fly direct where possible.
Airplanes use the most fuel during whenever they take off and whenever they land. If you chose a flight that is direct, you’re already helping the environment.
Otherwise, you could make sure you pack less items without including any plastic. Or, you could book with an eco-friendly airline, and chose economy rather than business.
Above all, many airlines are now looking to create eco-friendly travel.
This includes being fuel efficient, modernising fleets and only using sustainable aviation fuels. But another option is to offer ‘carbon offsetting.’
In short, this means that airlines offer their passengers carbon credits calculated from the emissions from their flight.
Business travellers who would like to travel in a more eco-friendly way could then credit environmental projects across the world and offset their carbon emissions to some degree, whilst supporting sustainable, local business and eco projects.
Singapore Airlines is but one airline that has recently launched its own carbon offsetting scheme.
This allows passengers to offset their carbon emissions via ‘microsites’, before or after flying, and on a voluntary basis.
Flyers can pay to offset the carbon emitted during their flight and the airline will match all purchases made for the first six months of the scheme.
Also taking part is Singapore Airlines Cargo, SIA’s dedicated cargo division – although SIA Cargo won’t be joining the scheme until late July.
Corporate customers can also take part in the scheme from the fourth quarter of 2021.
‘The programme supports the group’s commitment to buttress our sustainability efforts, and reinforces our leadership position in the airline industry as we recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.’ Says Ms Lee Wen Fen, Senior Vice President Corporate Planning, Singapore Airlines.
Overall, the group has a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and so is working towards ‘decarbonization’ and environmental sustainability across its operations.
‘Today, the most effective and direct way for an airline to materially lower carbon emissions is by operating a young fleet of aircraft.’ Adds Goh Choon Phong, chief executive officer of Singapore Airlines.
‘The SIA Group’s fleet has an average age of under six years, making it one of the youngest in the world.’
The carbon offset program is to help to protect Indonesian forests, support renewable solar energy projects in India, and provide clean burning cookstoves for families in rural Nepal.
Otherwise, before now SIA has been strengthening its position as a leader in sustainable travel and protecting the environment.
It’s a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) and have already launched green package flights from San Francisco to Singapore.
These flights incorporated sustainable aviation fuels, fuel-efficient aircraft and optimised air traffic management measures.
Also, in 2020, SIA worked with Stockholm’s Swedavia Airport to uplift sustainable aviation fuels on flights.
They are also involved in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which is looking to cap the airline industry’s growth in carbon emissions from 2020.
Photography courtesy of Singapore Airlines