Friday, February 1, 2008

Creating Demand

I was travelling for business recently and struggled with living sustainably out of a hotel room – I had some successes and some failures. For example, I found a great way to combat purchasing bottled water – refills from the filtered water in the gym rather than the slightly rusty water from the hotel faucet.

One thing I was not able to do successfully was recycle…especially paper and plastic bottles. Every time I threw something recyclable away, I cringed! What did I do about this? Nothing. What should I have done? Talked to the hotel about instituting recycling programs: either in room, or at least in each elevator lobby/ice machine alcove.

It’s well known that the U.S. is a heavily consumer-driven society. If we the consumers make our demands known, soon enough, suppliers will begin to meet the demand. One way to do this is through corporate travel programs – while each individual user still has impact, a company with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees may be able to make a bigger mark.

Some companies have corporate travel policies that support environmental/social responsibility:
  • Preferred rental of hybrid automobiles
  • Carbon offset purchasing
  • Preference for hotels with green energy/green buildings

Not only should we ourselves create demand with our dollars (and words), but also, we need to encourage our companies to increase their dedication to sustainable travel initiatives.

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