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10 Apr 2019

Professor Zero's advice on air travel

Posted in: Reducing emissions

Professor Zero’s advice on air travel

Dr Ann Smith on the carbon impacts of air travel

Congratulations to Shaun Hendy for achieving a year without air travel. It’s great that Shaun's initiative has been picked up by the media and is being discussed widely on social media. Good on you Shaun for showing that it can be done.

Air travel is a source of emissions for many individuals and companies but, luckily, there are lots of ways that you can reduce your air travel impacts.

Track your emissions and focus on areas where you can make the most impact

You can't reduce what you don't measure. Track your emission sources and focus on areas where you can make the most difference.


The first step is to measure your carbon footprint and understand what proportion is made up of air travel. For some, it will be significant but not for others. The best advice is to focus on the significant parts of your footprint as that's where you can make the most difference.

Ann joining our Auckland networking event from Christchurch via video conference.

Ann saved a return flight from Christchurch to Auckland by joining in remotely to our Auckland networking event.

Use technology

The technology for video conferencing has been getting better and better so this is a great option for reducing your air travel footprint. This saves time and money so it’s good for business as well. Consolidating meetings to make unavoidable air travel more efficient also makes business sense and may mean one plane-trip where there might have been several. Many Boards have reduced the number of face-to-face meetings and that brings other benefits; it makes it possible to recruit the best talent for your Board regardless of location.

Enviro-Mark Solutions' free to use carbon emissions calculators for households and individuals

Enviro-Mark Solutions' offers a free calculator that allows individuals to work out their travel footprint.

Work out your best travel options

Personally, I love train travel and I enjoy the opportunity to catch up on reading or work on a report that needs extra thinking time. A couple of hours on a train before a meeting is high-quality time for me. Enviro-Mark Solutions offers a free travel calculator where you can calculate your travel footprint and compare the emissions associated with different travel options.

Be a conscious customer

It's important that the public and businesses let airlines know that they value airlines who are taking action to improve their environmental performance. This helps to reinforce that their investment in sustainability is valued by you as customers.

Aviation Industry is about to see changes in regulations in coming years

What’s in store for the aviation industry?

International air travel does have a large carbon footprint for many New Zealand businesses and where this travel is unavoidable, there are credible options for offsetting. In fact, from 2021, airlines will be required to participate in a new scheme called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction for International Aviation). The international airline industry has committed to carbon neutral growth from 2021 and to direct emissions reductions through ambitious fuel efficiency targets. Encouragement from air travellers may mean some airlines move faster to implement the CORSIA commitments and make your air travel more sustainable.

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