7 steps to a sustainable travel policy

At FGA we are committed to delivering the energy transition in the travel sector. We’re speaking, posting and developing projects and mechanisms in order to get us moving again in a more sustainable way. 

We have created some principle and an action plan for how to begin your green travel journey in this next phase:

  1. Creating an overarching sustainable travel policy to include more rail, electric vehicles, public transport, car sharing, electric scooters, economy over first-class flying, parking for bikes, and provisions for virtual meetings
  2. For global meetings, choosing the best host location, based on the least carbon created and including sustainable travel options
  3. Consistently measure your scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions – particularly scope 3, in which travel sits – to see how you can improve
  4. For unavoidable travel emissions, think about investing in legitimate carbon offsets, such as those provided by Gold Standard
  5. Scrutinise your organisation’s ‘say/do’ gap – i.e. what you say you’re willing to do to work on climate change, and what you’ll actually do – read more 
  6. Keep up to date with the latest news, trends, technology and new ways of thinking around travel by consuming reliable reports and other media
  7. Join a body like the Fly Green Alliance, which aggregates commitments to buying sustainable fuel, fostering partnerships, building green travel programmes, managing offtake agreements and mobility partnerships 

Contact sarah@flygreenalliance.org to find out more.

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Design and Marketing Intern

Are you a recent graduate and looking to develop your design and marketing career in sustainability?

Do you have the following experience and skills?

  • Adobe suite
  • Video editing
  • Social media
  • Design
  • Marketing strategy
  • Content management
  • Research

We are thought leaders in green travel and work towards businesses and the aviation sector flying green. We are working on green travel for COP26 alongside key UK aviation stakeholder and will be presenting our work at SAP Concur’s Industry Travel Summit and the BTN’s Sustainable Business Travel Summit this month.

Do you want to help us to develop our communications and social channels?

FGA Travel Smart/ Fly Green Alliance /FGA on instagram.

We are working with some of the major airlines, manufacturers, fuel companies and sustainability leaders globally and would appreciate the support of a digitally savvy intern interested in innovation, technology and trends who can contribute to our development.

We promote diversity, equity and inclusion and actively support and encourage mental health awareness and programme development.

Contact sarah@flygreenalliance.org to speak about the position

How do you turn resistance into flow?

Turn unsubscribe, delete, not a priority, pending, no reply into proactive and productive ways forward.

This article is written from our founders experience from the last 3 years of conversations with all types of sectors.

I’ve discovered it’s time, understanding, respect for each other’s agendas and friendly approaches. 

Our role at FGA is to encourage systems change but that isn’t easy for every organisation.

Sarah Wilkin – founder and CEO

Why is systems change not easy?

From our time meeting senior decision makers in a spectrum of sectors as well as the sustainability champion/managers in the organisations we’ve seen and heard many reasons that the champions feel things are becoming blocked:

  • Culture and attitude of the company/organisation 
  • Senior management buy-in/if there is a sustainability representative on the exec board
  • Cross function politics 
  • It’s not currently imperative for business operations  
  • Requires new unit or work stream to be set up
  • Budget 
  • Not enough staff/resource to manage projects 
  • Too much workload 
  • Diversity
  • Location of HQ 
  • Government regulations 
  • Locked into established supply chains 
  • CFO/legal – if you need new contracts to push forward change, ways of working or suppliers this takes time and may take many meetings to convince the CFO and put the case forward

Are you recognising many or all blockers in this list? 

If you are finding a lot of these are in place and you are the sustainability champion/manager then we advise you to find like minded people, including senior managers, in your organisations and make a group. Stay well read, meet consultants, attend events, stay positive, build a business case and plan for the bigger picture.  Few people enjoy change especially if it is questioning their behaviour or the organisation’s business model or business as usual. Although we need strong drivers in this transition you have to build your support, respect and present at timely opportunities, be well versed and be professional. Represent yourself well and encourage polite conversation. If it becomes unproductive or hostile then take a break. 

The sustainability/energy transition discussion is a social, environmental, economical and equity discussion and it’s not easy. If you feel compelled and driven then stick with it!  

We got you! We post insights, behaviour change and personal development articles on our channels to support you to navigate an extremely complex topic.

Turning football’s attention towards sustainable travel

As more football clubs make commitments around climate action, reducing the impact of how they move players and fans should be top of the agenda

Read more on The Sustainability Report.

Travel can account for up to 90% of the overall carbon footprint of football clubs and organisations. It’s a significant challenge for the professional game, which is reliant on global travel, with players and spectators hopping from city to city (and country to country) to compete and watch.

A handful of clubs are trying to address this through the provision of car sharing and public transit options. Spanish La Liga club, Real Betis, has carried out a survey for employees and fans, shaping their decision to promote sustainable transport through initiatives such as an electric scooter partnership with Lime and through their platform Forever Green will begin the development of a sustainable travel policy.

In the English Premier League, Brighton & Hove Albion is one of many clubs focused on reducing their scope three (third party emissions generated through suppliers or travel) travel footprint by offering free public transport to fans within a designated travel zone.

Fellow Premier League outfit, Arsenal, has established a mobility policy pledging that the club will “endeavour to minimise impacts from travel by reviewing freight and delivery ordering, minimising business travel and encouraging staff to reduce car use by walking, cycling or using public transport”.

Last season’s FA Cup winners also provide cycling provision for staff moving between sites.

At a continental level, UEFA, European football’s governing body, is focusing part of its Football and Social Responsibility work on mobility, particularly at its major events such as its upcoming European Championships in Germany in 2024.

Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA’s president, has committed to avoiding concepts like the multiple-city European Championships, occurring later this year, in the future, and a concerted effort to organise more ‘carbon-friendly’ fixtures. The organisation gave its support to the European Union’s Green Deal proposal last year, and launched its ‘Cleaner air, better game’ campaign around improving air quality – but the increase in the number of teams competing in the Champions League (from 32 to 36) in 2024 raises concerns that travel, and specifically flying, will become more frequent for the competition.

Reducing flight-related emissions is the most complex piece of the sustainable travel puzzle. There’s no way around tackling this issue head on for football clubs and organisations – particularly those that have made net zero commitments and producing sustainability strategies. There are a few ways in which they can action on this:

– Creating an overarching sustainable travel policy to include more rail, electric vehicle, public transports, car sharing, electric scooters, economy over first class flying, parking for bikes, and virtual meetings provision

– For event organisers, choosing the best host location, based on where fans and staff are likely to travel from and sustainable travel options

– Consistently measure your scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions – particularly scope 3, in which travel sites – to see how you can improve

– For unavoidable travel emissions, think about investing in legitimate carbon offsets, such as those provided by Gold Standard

– Scrutinise your organisation’s ‘say/do’ gap – i.e. what you say you’re willing to do to fight climate change, and what you’ll actually do – more information on this in the following article here

– Keep up to date with the latest news, trends, technology and new ways of thinking around travel by consuming reliable reports and other media

– Join us at Fly Green Alliance, which aggregates commitments to buying sustainable fuel, fostering partnerships, building green travel programmes, and managing offtake agreements.

Travel will always be a part of professional football. But by taking concrete steps towards sustainable mobility, the game can continue to please audiences around the globe with a much-reduced footprint. It only takes a bit of commitment and innovation.

Sarah Wilkin writes as Sustainability Consultant for TACKLE, a UEFA supported initiative, and is founder and CEO of Fly Green Alliance – consultants and experts in green travel, sustainable aviation fuel, and pioneers of the alliance based funding mechanism to support paying for green fuel.  

Read on The Sustainability Report.

FGA Travel Smart: Strategic travel policy development involving scenario building, measurement, reporting, sustainable fuels and partnerships.

FGA in BTN – Sustainability should be front and centre of travel’s recovery

Several years ago airline organisation IATA suggested that annual global passenger numbers would double, to 7.8 billion, by 2036. In 2020, however, international passenger demand fell by 75 per cent and domestic demand by nearly half.

Covid-19 has rocked global aviation and even the most optimistic observers do not expect ‘normal’ levels to return for three to five years. And what of that prediction for 2036? Right now, it’s difficult to envisage that.

The pandemic has changed our attitudes not only to the way in which we do business, but also towards sustainability and, as air travel recovers, suppliers and corporates alike will build back greener.

For businesses this means reducing travel volumes, carbon counting and offsetting our impact. For suppliers it means developing and adopting more efficient technology and innovating like never before.

It’s very much understood that we won’t all be going back to the office in the same way and that remote working and videoconferencing will, on the whole, remain in some form to help reduce costs and support home/work balance.

I’m sure most of us miss travel right now and don’t want overseas holidays and work trips to be a thing of the past. We also miss the connection of face-to-face meetings, so how can we do business, build back better and hit emissions targets in our new world?

Aviation is one of the most difficult industries to decarbonise and reduce emissions. It needs collaboration and partnerships to bring solutions to the table. It is our role at FGA to foster such relationships and also to work with organisations to help them develop sustainable travel policies.

Simple first steps should include:
• Shifting more journeys from air to rail travel where possible
• Considering whether trips are truly essential before they are approved
• Continuing to use videoconferencing even when the world opens up again
• Implement permanent remote working policies and set-ups
• Purchasing sustainable aviation fuel offsets or credits

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are one of a basket of measures approved and agreed upon by ICAO, European member states, IATA and other leading bodies and experts in the sector.

Last year, in fact, SAF producer Neste delivered renewable jet fuel to Zurich Airport during the World Economic Forum in Davos, enabling business jets flying in and out of the airport to blend it with fossil jet fuel, compared with which it has an 80 per cent smaller carbon footprint.

However, from our own research we found only half of travel managers know what sustainable aviation fuels are and, according to our research partner Ipsos Mori, the figure is only 30 per cent among the general public. Clearly there is a need for education on this front.

On a more positive note, we are engaging with increasingly more travel management companies, corporates and their travellers, among whom interest in sustainable travel is rapidly growing. TMCs are committed to providing innovative tools to help clients confront their environmental responsibilities.

We must all play a part in making business travel less harmful to the environment, whether we are a supplier, buyer or intermediary. Our role is to grow awareness, stimulate interest and facilitate conversations and partnerships that facilitate greener travel. We hope you’ll join us on that journey.

Read the full article on the BTN site and online here.

Carbon fasting on earth day!

For Earth Day we want to post about our individual acts of ‘carbon fasting’ which all contribute to emission reduction and environmental goals in our own lives. Like in the ‘5 and 2’ diet where you fast for 2 days and eat normally on the rest, we think that this thinking could work when trying to reduce our own footprint. There has been much discussion about carbon budgets in businesses and calculating carbon lately and it’s all quite hard to understand, and relate to, especially when carbon is in metric tonnes which we can’t even imagine.

It’s very individual what you can achieve, what is essential to one is expendable to another, so our approach is fast what you can in your life, so you can save for what you want or need. A few things we’ve done recently in our day-to-day lives:

  • Recycling
  • Reusing
  • Washing powder in cardboard box, not plastic
  • Washing your clothes on a quick wash
  • Not using a tumble dryer
  • More showers over baths
  • Buying vintage clothes, less clothes or rent clothes from a subscription based clothes store
  • Filling up our olive oil from a bottle-fill shop
  • Turn down the heating a degree or so
  • Taking egg carton boxes back to the shop to reuse
  • Switched to green electricity
  • Wee-gan – week day vegan/Having vegetarian or plant-based diet days
  • Eurostar to London from Amsterdam
  • Flixbus to Brussel from Amsterdam
  • No car, cycling or walking in the city or public transport – we know not possible for all

Earth Day is about collective acts and we agree that some behavioural changes and an open mind nudges along some big changes, energy savings and general awareness.

This FT Weekend article suggests some of the best ways to reduce carbon including having less children!

Last year we decided to create the idea of ‘carbon fasting ‘ and would love to hear your feedback. Is this an easy way to think about it? Does having a budget or ‘basket’ of carbon help ? Knowing the calories of food is said to help people to choose more wisely and reduce their intake. Would this be the case on carbon? The European Commission have already started an Eco label pilot which is testing just that. We think that not everyone at all times can reduce their carbon but you could save some for when you need it and you can offset. We need to live and do want to travel, we’ve seen this even more in the pandemic but we’ve also seen you can live fairly simply and can still successfully conduct business online which all reduces collective carbon. At FGA we do have a pragmatic approach to carbon reduction and this is why many choose to work with us. We do still want to travel, visit family and friends and new countries. We also prefer to come up with suggestions and solutions which we hope organisations and individuals can add to their lives.

That is why when we looked into it we asked, what makes practical sense? We have always advocated for more virtual and less frequent business travel, this will be a given now.

Business models are already starting to change in travel, insight that has been shared with us, our energy sources are going to change such as using sustainable aviation fuels and we are pushing into a new phase now globally. It’s unlikely contracts will require us in the office full time or even state which country you need to do that work from, we have seen this first hand. This is a huge fundamental change in how we will live and travel. Are you ready to embrace it or nervous it will change your life? Are you going to stay in the old school or step in to the new?

Airlines are switching to paper containers for inflight meals, removing single use plastics, saying sustainability will be a competitive advantage and working on sharing the cost of sustainable fuel with corporate customers like we do with Fly Green Alliance and FGA Travel Smart. In 2018 the International Women’s Day hashtag was push for progress and this year’s is choose to challenge. All sentiments we live by at FGA. On business models, climate and DEI.

Happy Earth Day, why not experiment with your own basket of carbon today? Switch off appliances, choose to walk, and eat a plant-based lunch. There are many ways to carbon fast. If you would like to discuss this concept and the trends work that FGA Consultancy does then email: sarah@flygreenalliance.org

France to ban short-haul domestic flights

Last week, France’s National Assembly voted a ban on domestic flights that can be covered by a train journey in under 2.5 hours. The 2.5 hour line fixed is an attempt to find a middle ground between lowering carbon emissions from transport, whilst avoiding a hard blow to the air travel industry, already weakened by the past year’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. Reducing air travel is part of a bigger plan to lower France’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The bill has caused debate between the citizens’ climate convention set up by President Emmanuel Macron, and France’s airlines. On one hand, the High Council on Climate (HCC) considers that the limit, 2.5 hours, which was originally meant to be 4 hours, is much too low. The 4 hour limit was reduced after airline representatives objected that the airline industry has already suffered and doesn’t need additional slowing down of its activities.

Banning flights that can be covered by a four-hour long train journey would have suppressed 18 connections, lowering carbon emissions by 12.5%. For a four-hour flight, air travel produces 77% more carbon emissions per passenger than for the same distance with France’s high-speed TGV trains. Instead, only 5 connections were suppressed. In 2019, these represented only 10% of all of France’s air traffic – constituting a 3% decrease of carbon emissions, not considered enough to make a real impact. France has already overrun on its 2015-2018 carbon budget by emitting more than 61 Mt eqCO2 (millions of tonnes equivalent) and is currently not reducing its emissions at a fast enough rate, according to climatologist and HCC president Corinne Le Quéré. 

Moreover, the ban came a few days after it was revealed that the French government was supplying state aid of 4 billion euros to help the recovery of Air France, France’s flag-carrier airline. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister Delegate in charge of industry, insisted that there is no contradiction between banning short flights and providing financial support to Air France saying that the government is accompanying the industry as it transitions to a new business model, and states that her vision of 2030 is one where there are fewer carbon emissions but just as many planes. However, at the same time French and British governments have said they will not bailout Eurostar which will be one of the key replacements of short haul flights between the UK and Europe and a sure fire way to reduce emissions from travel across Europe.

There are two arguments against raising the bar to four hours. First, a ban on 18 flight trajectories would force Air France to lay-off a significant number of staff in both airports and airlines, contributing to the already high unemployment rate. Second, some French territories could find themselves isolated, contributing to the inequity between France’s regions. There are also concerns that giving trains the monopoly and erasing competition from airlines for the same trips could harm the future long-term development of the air travel sector.

At Fly Green Alliance, we believe that flying less for is part of the solution. Doubling of air passengers to 7.8 billion by 2036 doesn’t align with emmission reduction plans and in February this year the European aviation plan ‘Destination 2050’ acknowledged that a reduction of demand by 12% was needed. FGA asks corporate travellers to carefully consider whether business can be conducted online or whether a trip is necessary, something that will undoubtedly be happening going forward since the pandemic has highlighted and made possible changes in habits and ways of working, while increasing the sustainable travel and climate agenda. We ask if a trip can be replaced by rail but we also envision a world with the magnificent technology that makes a plane fly, and believe that adopting other measures in tandem with rail works towards an integrated energy transition plan across the transport sector. 2021 being the European Commission Year of rail which FGA will be supporting through FGA Travel Smart and other initiatives.

Fly Green Alliance is a strong proponent of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Contact Sarah Wilkin to find out how your company can transition to a more sustainable travel program.

Sarah Wilkin on SAF alliances and United Airline’s Eco-Skies Alliance

Sarah Wilkin founder & CEO of Fly Green Alliance was asked to comment on the United Airline’s co-funded SAF programme ‘Eco-Skies Alliance’.

FGA, pioneers in SAF global solutions, set up Fly Green Alliance and subsequently FGA Travel Smart to do exactly this. Asking the corporate world, do you want to fly green? Then working out how much their total carbon is and building sustainable travel policies which include commitment to sustainable aviation fuel and offsetting.

“Corporate customers are moving fast to develop sustainable travel solutions, mechanisms and SAF offsets,” said Sarah Wilkin, chief executive of Fly Green Alliance, an Amsterdam-based SAF consultancy that have built a sustainable travel programme. “The key is to create and adopt measurable programmes, tools and reporting systems that work towards carbon neutral commitments and ESG policy developments. We believe commitments through an alliance will support the SAF industry scale up, accelerate investments and increase project developments, which is needed to reach 2050 targets.”

You can read the full article written by Mark Pilling online on the GreenAir News website.