Travel Policy

Discover our tools and travel policy examples from Travel Smart coalition members

Having a robust travel policy is key in reducing business travel emissions. It provides guidance for employees on best practices for sustainable travel whilst helping the business meet its environmental goals, save money and protect employees’ well-being.

What steps should a company take to develop a purposeful travel policy?

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Our Travel Practices

The Travel Smart coalition is made up of partners from Europe, North America and Asia. Many of these organisations have ambitious travel policies in place that vary according to their location and number of employees. Below you can discover the range of travel policies of the Travel Smart coalition.

AEF

AEF seeks to minimise the climate impact associated with its own staff travel and the organisation of meetings and events that require others to travel. AEF is committed to record and monitor their travel emissions through a tracking tool, which also includes a non-CO2 multiplier, so they can carry out an annual analysis and assess how they can further reduce their emissions. They also give importance to being transparent by reporting their emissions. AEF will reduce air travel, prioritise rail for short distances, and promote virtual options for most meetings.
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AirClim

AirClim’s travel policy gives importance on planning their business trips as far in advance as possible to save costs and minimise the impact on the environment. To do so, AirClim uses a framework agreement with a travel agency which also helps in tracking and reporting their CO2 emissions. As far as possible, travel will be replaced by telephone meetings, videoconferences or similar, and air travel by bus, boat or train. Flights may normally only be considered when the total one-way travel time exceeds six hours for alternative means of transport. AirClim will give priority to the use of public transport, bicycles, carpool, eco-taxis and/or eco-cars when necessary.
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Campaign for Better Transport

Campaign for Better Transport believes it is important to lead by example when it comes to sustainable business travel. Their internal travel policy aims to both help to reduce their own transport emissions and serve as an example of good practice for other UK organisations. For multinationals based in the UK, they offer an enhanced Travel Policy Toolkit.
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CBalance

CBalance’s travel policy emphasises avoiding air travel as much as possible and prioritising train travel. Preference will be given to the comfort of employees on trains, choosing priority class so that professionals can continue with their work activities while travelling, thus encouraging train travel. CBalance’s travel policy also includes the prioritisation of sustainable accommodations and well-connected locations to avoid extra travel.
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Ecodes

ECODES’ travel policy avoids unnecessary flight bookings when travelling due to work reasons. It also focuses on promoting other sustainable ways of travelling, such as using the train, and if possible, replacing travel with virtual or hybrid meetings. For trips within Spain, employees are required to take the train (except under extraordinary circumstances). For travel within Europe, rail travel is the default for any trip of up to 8 hours. When the travel time is longer, the employee must first question the necessity of travel, and only use the plane when really deemed necessary. ECODES has an ambitious target to reduce air travel emissions by 50% of 2019 levels by 2024. The organisation has reported on air travel emissions since 2007.
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Ecologistas en AcciĂłn

Ecologistas en AcciĂłn

Ecologistas en Acción’s travel policy emphasises planning, monitoring and reducing travel emissions, while being transparent. The public inventory of business trips made in 2019 with their associated emissions serves as a baseline against which to set corresponding emissions reduction targets. In practice, Ecologistas’ employees rarely, if ever, travel by plane. They also commit to be proactive in raising awareness among other stakeholders — social, economic, institutional, etc — about the socio-environmental impacts of the most polluting means of transport, especially aviation.
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Ecounion

Ecounion

Ecounion commits to implement a short (2030) and long-term (2050) strategy aimed at reducing climate emissions related to its staff and collaborators’ trips. They will monitor and annually assess their business trips and associated emissions, set emission reduction targets, and keep a continued report to ensure transparency. They will prioritise virtual activities instead of physical travel, and when travelling is unavoidable they will choose the train as far as possible. They will organise regular initiatives for staff and stakeholders to encourage sustainable mobility. Recommendations on tools to make travel more sustainable are also included in Ecounion’s travel policy.
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Transport & Environment (T&E)

T&E takes into account the distribution of its staff and activities across Europe. That is why, the organisation specifies that all journeys that can be made in 8 hours or less should be made by train. The objective of T&E is to reduce its air travel emissions per employee by 60% in 2023 as compared to 2019, having grown from 40 to 100 employees in the same period. To facilitate the achievement of this objective, the travel policy establishes a climate impact budget per department (taking into account both the CO2 and non-CO2 impacts of aviation), and provides the Travel Smart decision tree to support travel planning.
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ZERO

ZERO defined the objectives of its air travel policy with reference to 2022, since this was the first full calendar year with a sufficient number of employees to serve as a basis. ZERO, despite Portugal being peripheral in Europe, and poorly served by international rail connections, commits itself in 2023 to reduce by at least 15% the average GHG air travel emissions per employee, but aiming to achieve -20%; and in 2025 it commits to -25%, aiming at -40%. Among the guidelines of the policy, the ones favouring transport by alternative means to flying, preferably train, should be highlighted, including the provisions that clearly regulate in which circumstances the use of aeroplanes is permitted.
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