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Evaluate Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies for Business Travel

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Step 3

For reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), this section provides guidance to Federal agencies on what strategies are typically available, when they are usually applicable, and best practices for supporting deployment.

To reduce travel-related emissions, agencies can either conduct business using a means besides travel (i.e. travel less), or travel more efficiently by, for example, combining multiple objectives/trips into one. While these two options appear straightforward, reducing business travel emissions can be a difficult topic to approach with employees. A top-down travel management approach can have near-term benefits in terms of cost-savings and GHG reduction but may have unintended consequences when cuts are made across the board and will not likely be sustained by behavior change if budgets are later increased.

A more effective approach engages employees across the organization at all levels. Strategies must be:

  • Aligned with business and trip objectives
  • Technology enabled
  • Integrated throughout the travel management process
  • Communicated

Learn more about how to:

  1. Identify strategies to reduce business air travel
  2. Estimate the impact each will have on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from air travel.
How does reducing air travel really reduce GHG emissions?

Accounting for actual reductions in indirect emission to the atmosphere – like those from business travel – is more complex than accounting for reductions from direct sources, like fuel use in government vehicles. Changes in the agency's inventory as a result of reduced air travel in one year may not directly correspond with changes in GHG emissions in the atmosphere in that same year. Over time, however, aggregate changes from reduced demand for air travel will lead to changes in GHG emissions.

When travel cannot be avoided, there may also be opportunities for agencies to reduce GHG emissions in the near-term by traveling "greener." As airlines begin to distinguish themselves through the use of biofuels and more efficient airplanes, agencies may be able to use advanced procurement systems to help select those greener options when booking travel.

Next Step

After evaluating GHG reduction strategies, the next step in GHG mitigation planning for business travel is to estimate the cost of implementing these strategies.

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