Corporate Environmental Programs: How can utility employees participate in greenhouse-gas reduction? Start with sustainable travel programs.
Of the 5,800 million tons of U.S. CO2 emissions in 2002, power generation accounted for 44 percent and transport for 33 percent, making them the first and second largest contributors, respectively, of such emissions in the country.
Utility climate-change-related activities focus on managing the industry's climate footprint in power generation, transmission, and use. These issues are addressed through a number of voluntary agreements with stakeholders and government agencies, but we suggest that utilities should encourage the travel industry to get involved voluntarily by offering "sustainable travel service" products.
The concept is to help corporate travelers calculate the emissions they create on particular flights or with ground travel. For instance, travelers on individual flights round-trip from Frankfurt to New York create 2.3 tons of CO2 emissions. This can be calculated easily using several environmental Web sites.
By purchasing a carbon offset, the traveler can counterbalance the pollution he or she is responsible for creating. Once back on the ground, the "clean" travel concept can be taken one step further. Many travelers now have the option to book hotels certified for their environmental friendliness or to rent fuel-efficient cars.
The small sums gathered from travelers who purchase offsets are pooled and invested in projects in the developing world that reduce CO2 emissions.