Business travel and the carbon footprint: a concrete example from practice
The life of a consultant is accompanied by business trips. Corona has shown us that many appointments nowadays also work very well online via video conference. But we still find that there is no permanent substitute for accompanying our clients in person and talking to them directly on site. We are even more pleased that we are increasingly on the road again and usually develop a healthy mix of work from the home office and presence times with the client.
Travel activities generate emissions and thus have a direct influence on the CO2 balance of a company – this is not a new insight. In the following, I would like to show you the calculation of CO2 emissions and possible influencing factors in the area of business travel using a concrete example from my everyday work.
How much CO2 do two consultants cause due to their travel activities?
Together with a colleague from Muensterland, I am currently supporting a customer in Augsburg. We are usually on site for three consecutive days. We travel by Deutsche Bahn. To be mobile on site in Augsburg, we have registered for car sharing and regularly book an electric car.
For our arrival/departure and travel on site, we cause a total of 106.74 CO2e from such a trip, which is broken down as follows:
– 6,93 kg CO2e: My colleague’s journey by company car to Osnabrück station and back
– 4,54 kg CO2e: My journey by private car to Duisburg station and back
– 52,53 kg CO2e: My colleague’s train journey from Osnabrück to Augsburg and back
– 41,17 kg CO2e: My train journey from Duisburg to Augsburg and back
– 1,58 kg CO2e: On-site mobility in Augsburg
How can these values be influenced depending on the type of trip?
To be able to put these figures into perspective, I would like to show you two alternative scenarios.
The colleague and I could make all the journeys with his company car. In this case, we would meet at the office in Oberhausen and make the remaining journeys together from there. This type of travel would result in a bottom-line total of 312.30 CO2e.
Another possibility would be to travel by plane: We would each drive to Düsseldorf airport by car and fly from there to Munich. There we would rent a middle-class car for the further journeys to and in Augsburg. In this scenario we would generate 601.00 CO2e.
Even the scenario „home office and videoconference“ generates emissions for the energy used in the data centers and for data transmission, although the total of approx. 9.4 kg CO2e for 15 hours of videoconferencing is comparatively low.
You see: Yes, employee travel causes greenhouse gas emissions. However, at the same time there is quite a lot of scope for actively influencing and reducing these emissions within the framework of sustainability management. With our brand ADCONTERRA, we specialize, among other things, in collecting and evaluating such CO2 data in companies in a structured way, in order to be able to develop sustainable decarbonization strategies on their basis. You are welcome to contact us if you would like advice or support on this topic.