If the "triple bottom line" is social, environmental, and economic—or people, planet, and profit—it's safe to say that the environmental cause was given short shrift until climate change became a climate crisis. IE Business School professor Enrique Dans discusses the greening of corporate social responsibility (or CSR) in a recent Forbes essay, citing the emergence of the "carbon economy" that seeks to eliminate more carbon dioxide than is emitted into the atmosphere. "Following this principle, some companies have begun to redefine their CSR policies to prioritize the environmental, which until a few years ago was considered simply by many as a 'nice to have,' giving the annual report a feel-good factor," he adds.
Dans lists some environmentally-friendly actions corporations have taken in response to this particular inconvenient truth, e.g. Lyft investing millions to become carbon neutral, and UPS, DHL, and IKEA transitioning to electric delivery vehicles.
Those companies' efforts will all be impactful, undoubtedly. But if employers are committed to saving the planet, they should also take a hard look at the amount of business travel their employees take every year, which is one of the reasons we stand behind TravelLite as one of the most important flexibility types.
"Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change," The New York Times' Andy Newman reported earlier this year. "One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere." Or, more illustratively, just one passenger's JFK-to-LAX flight generates enough carbon emissions to melt 32 square feet of Arctic summer sea ice, according to a recent paper published in the journal Science. Plus, that passenger's ticket is a green light for the aviation industry to schedule more flights, build more planes, and fortify more airports, as Newman reported—and already, the number of worldwide airline passengers has doubled since 2003.
Understandably, companies are being held accountable for their carbon emissions. As part of CSRHub's Environment, Social & Governance Ratings, for example, the firm grades companies on their "interactions with the environment at large, including use of natural resources, and a company's impact on the Earth's ecosystems"—including an "Energy and Climate Change" subcategory that appraises emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
And this is where TravelLite can come in. TravelLite employees spend no more than 10 percent of their time on business travel—and as a bonus, they avoid the health hazards of business travel. Companies devoted to environmentalism and upholding their CSR might consider going as far as placing caps or limitations on annual individual employee air travel, a policy change that is possible thanks to the constant development of new collaboration tools and virtual technologies. Not only would these companies be setting new norms within their industries (not to mention saving money on air travel), but they could also distinguish themselves as leaders in employee experience by making TravelLite part of their employer brand—since environmentally-minded job-seekers will search for these "greener" pastures, so to speak.
If you're eager to focus on your CSR or interested to learn more about the logistics and benefits of TravelLite and the other flexibility types, get in touch. With the climate crisis at hand, the stakes are getting higher by the day.