Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector

Procurement Guide: Travel

05 December 2010 10:37 AM | Anonymous member

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  • Carbon emission from travel represent the second highest in our sector
  • Given the geography of Australia the need to travel will always be present, however we should consider how to minimise this need, or adopt some smarter options when we do have to travel
  • Can our travel agent produce statistics on carbon emissions from our travel related activities?
  • Can our travel agent assist with carbon mitigation activities through our purchase of travel?
  • What can we do about offsetting carbon from travel when travel agencies are not used?


Identify Requirement

  • Is there a need to travel? Can the meeting we are required to attend be satisfied by using video or tele conferencing?
  • If we must travel, we need to develop a method of measuring the amount of travel that we do and the associated carbon creation from those activities. A complete analysis would include air, rail and road travel, as well as carbon creation activities from staying in hotels. This may not all be possible or practical, however must be considered if firms are aspiring to be 'carbon neutral'.
  • Like other sustainability initiatives, we reduce the need to undertake carbon creating activities, and for those we must undertake, we measure and offset as much as possible.


  • If several people have to travel to attend the same meeting, try and organise the travel so that they can all arrive and depart at the same time, saving on taxi costs and emissions
  • If you are travelling alone, ask the person next to you in the taxi queue if they are heading in your direction, and try and taxi pool to reduce costs and emissions
  • Provide incentives for your staff to try and mitigate travel - if an employee can find a way to avoid travelling for a meeting, provide them with a reward for saving the firm time, money and carbon emissions.


  • If you must travel, try and centralise the firm's travel procurement. It is very difficult to gather meaningful and accurate data if everyone uses their own credit card to make travel bookings
  • Your decision to use a corporate travel provider will likely be based on cost, service and value adds, so make sure that one of the value adds is a regular report that identifies all travel that has been booked through the travel provider and the associated carbon created by that travel (including flights, rail travel and hire cars)
  • See if your corporate travel provider can offset the carbon at the time of the booking, or use their regular report (suggested in the previous point) to offset the carbon creation of the other activities yourself.
  • If you must use your own credit card and book flights on-line, try and use the carbon offset options at the time of making the booking
  • Retain record of road and rail travel
  • Appoint a person in the firm to collate the travel related expenditure and associated carbon creation from those activities.


  • The rule, as with all sustainability initiatives, is 'reduce, reduce, manage and offset'. Eliminate travel as much as possible; develop methods to tray and capture accurate travel data; and offset what you can.

Further Information

Prepared by
Kelvin O'Connor
Henry Davis York

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