5 ways you can off-set your company retreat’s carbon footprint
Are you getting ready for a hard-earned company retreat? While, as a leader, it’s essential to concentrate your attention on helping your colleagues bond (and of course get your itinerary sorted) it’s just as vital to consider the impact that your team-bonding trip’s carbon footprint will have on the planet.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has repeatedly highlighted the “real need for people to recognise their impact and how much water, waste and energy you should consume compared to the local population of your destination location”. But how do we go about measuring the carbon footprint of our company retreat, let alone offsetting it?
It can be frustrating to add another item to the already long list of things you have to think about when organising a company retreat, so we thought we’d help you out with five easy tips you can use to offset your company retreat’s carbon footprint.
Calculate, calculate, calculate
Well, it’s worth using a carbon calculator (we recommend Carbon Footprint Calculator, which is free to use) to give yourself a rough idea of your company retreat’s carbon footprint. And there are plenty of eco-friendly initiatives you can sign up to which promise to offset your footprint for you, either by planting trees (according to the non-profit One Tree Planted, the average tree absorbs 10KG of carbon per year during the first 20 years of its life), capturing methane released by landfill, or offering sustainable energy technology to local communities.
We recommend, then, offsetting your carbon footprint using great organisations such as Cool Effect, Terrapass, South Pole, Native Energy, COTAP.org, Clear, Myclimate or Nori.
Choose a destination close to most of your employees
Flights are the main source of carbon emissions when it comes to a company retreat’s footprint. Choosing a destination closer to your teammates, then, could be the difference between several tonnes of CO2.
Short-haul trips, too, mean less of a need for bulky suitcases; if you and your team do have to fly, remember that travelling light will reduce the payload of the plane, fuel usage and carbon emissions.
Use the train wherever possible
Research has shown that a Eurostar journey from London to Paris emits “90% less greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent short-haul flight”. Trains are notably better for the environment than cars and ferries, too. So, when you consider the fact that Europe is so well connected by its extensive rail network, opting to travel to your company retreat via train is an easy way to offset your carbon footprint - not to mention treat your team to some gorgeous views along the way!
Be mindful of what you eat during your company retreat
According to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food. The easiest way to eat more sustainably is to fill your plate with plants and plant-based foods (there are so many brilliant vegan options to try!), but you can also:
eat locally sourced ingredients
choose climate-friendly seafood from lower in the food chain (shellfish is a great example)
avoid disposable packaging and cutlery
eat what’s in season
diversify your diet (currently, 75% of the world’s food comes from just 12 plant and five animal species - so help to reduce the environmental impact of our food system by opting for lesser-known plant ingredients, such as adzuki beans, okra and pumpkin flowers)
only opt for products containing RSPO certified sustainable palm oil (or no palm oil whatsoever)
Following this advice, whether you’re cooking together or eating out in your company retreat, could make all the difference to your carbon footprint.
Choose team-building experiences that are respectful of the environment
When planning the itinerary for your company retreat, make a conscious effort to select eco-friendly team-building experiences and activities. Perhaps you could partake in a foraging or wild food course, for example, or gorge yourselves on a vegan tasting menu. You could try forest bathing, outdoor yoga, or a nature hike. You could give wild swimming, therapeutic gardening, or even ‘plogging’ (the Swedish fitness craze which combines jogging and litter picking) a shot.
Whatever you decide, just be sure to take the time to find a sustainable option or two; it’s one of the easiest ways to boost morale and camaraderie on your company retreat, all while reducing your carbon footprint!