<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blog/17#">Eco Travel</a>

Eco Travel

On the path to responsible travel, with Louise Southerden.

Corporate eco-warriors

Teleconference

Credit: iStockphoto

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Eco travel isn't just about safari tents and canoeing trips. You can be an eco traveller when you're on the job, too.

Here are a few tips for travelling more greenly when you next have to attend a conference or work meeting.

  1. Skype where possible
    For those not in the know, using Skype is like being one of the Jetsons: you wear a set of headphones and talk to the person you're calling, whose face you can see on your computer monitor. Skype is free to download and use.

    Other video conferencing services are Whygo and Webex - which claims that using Webex to train 25 people from rural NSW instead of sending them all to a training day in Sydney would save 32 tonnes of carbon dioxide; and using Webex to avoid flying just one person from Melbourne to London, would save about 6 tonnes of CO2.

  2. Fly Economy
    Flying Business or (aren't you the lucky one) First Class might make you feel important but it's demoting to the planet.

    Because Business and First Class seats take up more cabin space (three, and six, times more cabin pace than Economy, respectively) you are actually using more energy and producing significantly more emissions than those in the cheaper seats. (Source: Flying Forest).

  3. Hire a hybrid
    When you reach your destination, hire a low-emissions rental car or travel by green cab.

    Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thifty have all added Toyota's petrol/electric hybrid Prius to their fleets.

    DriveNow offers a price comparison for Green Car Rental in Australia.

    Or hop in a Pedapod in Sydney or Perth; pedicabs are the only passenger service vehicles in Australia to have zero emissions (because they are powered by pedalling "pilots") - you can even show your support for the environment by advertising your business on the side or back of a pedapod.

    There are also several eco-cab services, such as Ecolimo in Sydney and Melbourne; Ecotaxi, which uses Lexus Hybrids in Sydney; and a different Eco-limo service that operates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC and New York.

  4. Stay in eco-friendly hotels, or at least ones that are taking steps to minimise their impact on the environment
    Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport offers carbon neutral conferencing, for instance, and Mercure claims to be the first hotel brand in the world to fully fund offsets on behalf of their meeting clientele. Scan the Green Book directory on the front of this month's G Magazine or the Green Directory for eco-accommodation.

    Oh, and don't forget to bring your own refillable water bottle for your next conference, to avoid using plastic bottles (read "Bottled Water: The naked truth" in G's September issue).

  5. Neutralise your travel
    When you get back to the office, offset all your flights, car trips hotel stays and other travel-related emissions. Carbon offset organisations were recently ranked by the Carbon Offset Watch report released on 16 September 2008.

    Twenty offset providers in Australia were reviewed by the Total Environment Centre, Choice magazine and the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS in Sydney.

    The report found that "there is a very high likelihood that any offset purchased (from Climate Friendly) will deliver real, additional greenhouse gas emissions reductions".

For more on carbon neutral business solutions, check out the Carbon Reduction Institute [www.noco2.com.au].
Do you have any tips for your fellow eco-savvy business travelers?