Purchasers can directly influence a portion of their total GHG emissions sources related to business travel and lodging by their professional service vendors. This may be an important source of emissions for contracts where vendors are located a significant distance away, especially if air travel is required. While the proportion of total supply chain GHG emissions generated from these types of activities are typically smaller than those generated from a vendor’s facility and fleet operations, purchasers have more ability to directly influence these emissions sources through their contracting strategies.
Strategy #2: Reduce Demand for Business Travel
Purchasers role in reducing demand
Institutional purchasers have an important role to play in enabling their vendors to reduce GHG emissions resulting from business travel. They must invest in technologies and infrastructure that allow for their vendors to transition away from traditional ways of doing business that can be emissions-intensive.
The purchasing organization can invest in high quality video and teleconferencing equipment and software to enable professional service vendors to reduce their business travel. This is particularly important for organizations that have identified air travel as a significant source of emissions in their professional services supply chain GHG emissions profile. There are many web-based technologies that can be used to host virtual meetings, including Microsoft Skype for Business, WebEx, Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting, to name a few. The Global Business Travel Association produced a Guide to Technology Solutions that summarizes key strategies in transitioning to virtual meetings. Conducting online meetings is inherently different than in-person meetings, and organizations should also invest in training employees on how to host effective virtual meetings.
These initiatives can have amplified impacts by supporting capacity-building of services vendors, especially small firms and community based organizations. Once these firms have adopted the technologies to service government contracts, they can use them with their other clients.