Business travel without the travel 

Traveling just isn’t what it used to be. If your business trip involves an airplane, you have to navigate security lines, take off your shoes, pack your hand sanitizer in a Ziploc bag and pay $5 for a pack of peanuts.

And if you’re a green-minded business traveler, you can’t help but think about the fuel burning through the sky as your plane goes airborne. Then, when you arrive at your destination, you take a cab or shuttle to your hotel, where the staff washes your towels every day even though you hang them on the towel rack to indicate you want to save water.

All this for a client meeting.

Greener business travel was just one of the topics on the agenda for SC08, an international conference earlier this month in Austin, Texas, that focused on all things technology. The San Diego Supercomputer Center, the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and the university’s Sustainability Program were involved in the event.

The focus of SC08 was to showcase new endeavors and cyberinfrastructure tech that can save energy, reduce travel and protect the environment.

According to this article from UC San Diego’s News Center, one of the topics was “new optical networks and end-points for virtual scientific meetings that reduce the need for business travel and hence lower energy consumption.”

We’ll be watching to see what technology comes out of this conference and into the workplace, allowing us to attend virtual meetings without leaving the comfort of our sustainable cubicle and our green office chair.

In a related story, Texas-based company GetThere has been awarded a 2008 Green Supply Chain Award from Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine. GetThere, an online corporate travel procurement company, offers a program called GetThere Green, which allows companies to integrate sustainable travel policies into corporate travel programs. Use the carbon calculator to figure out the carbon footprint you’re leaving by jetting off on that next business trip.

As your office goes green, have you changed your approach to business travel? Do you travel less or look for more sustainable travel approaches?

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