A recent article in Fast Company detailed a very startling business travel fact.  Salesforce employees traveled so much for work in 2019 that they generated 146,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions!  That’s the same amount emitted by 17,500 homes over the course of an entire year.

As with many areas of business, Covid changed all that and Salesforce’s business travel dropped by 86% to just 20,000 metric tons.  The good news is the slowdown did not negatively impact their productivity because of their ability to quickly pivot to virtual.  The circumstances forced them to consider a new way to meet, and the results proved it was more efficient and effective.

The question is as Covid restrictions ease, will companies go back to full-time business travel, or will there be some kind of hybrid strategy?

Many companies are asking themselves the same questions, after discovering that virtual not only improved productivity and reduced costs but also reduced emissions.  The proverbial win/win/win, so what’s next?

Virtual job fairs and hiring remotely have exploded in popularity during 2020.  The benefits of not having to travel to job fairs, or HR summits have resulted in much higher productivity rates, more efficiency and has reduced costs as well as reduced the time to hire from an average of over 30 days to just over 7 days.

Reduced emission was a benefit that most companies did not consider, but is now clearly another powerful reason to cut down on business travel.

Expert Holly Lichtenfeld of Sustainabase helps companies fully understand, monitor, and reduce their carbon footprint and shares that the SustainaBase software has revealed 65% plus reductions in 2020 business travel emissions among some of their customers.

Holly advises that putting intentional travel and event policies in place will help to avoid the projected rebound and even anticipated increase in costs and emissions related to business travel. She also points out it’s key to have a system in place to continuously manage and track the emissions related to travel.  “We automate data from travel booking systems and other sources to make this easy and even provide insights into things like a car versus air travel.”

SustainaBase is seeing a strong and growing trend in companies getting pressure from investors, stakeholders, and key customers to reduce their carbon emissions.  “The decline in business travel emissions has given companies a great head start. This is an opportunity to continue to gain ground, have a positive impact, and have good news to share instead of taking steps backward.”

It’s all part of a holistic approach to reducing emissions.  Employee commute is another sector that benefits from the connection between virtual work and a lower carbon footprint. Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report” revealed that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, which will be an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels.  This means millions and millions of us are incredibly comfortable with the virtual format and continue to be engaged while creating benefits for our employers, potential employers, and our communities.

We see this as an unintended benefit of hosting virtual career fairs and events, that can make a significantly positive impact on the environment.  As part of a conscientious plan to reduce emissions, adding virtual to events, to training and onboarding, and any other place where your company or organization previously conducted only in-person, can now be virtual, or at the very least hybrid.

The hybrid model allows those who want to attend in-person that opportunity but keeps the virtual doors open making it accessible online, and giving more people access than hosting in-person only events.  Knowing that each virtual attendee and remote worker reduces carbon emissions is the icing on the cake!

For more information on Sustainabase contact Holly Lichtenfeld, Chief Growth & Strategic Alliances Officer

hlichtenfeld@sustainabase.com / www.sustainabase.com / LinkedIn