New tool assesses impact of trip
Most travellers and their companies when considering a business trip from Edinburgh to London will look at the costs. Some will also look at the different level of carbon emissions from a journey by train or plane.
But how many will try and calculate the stress each means of transport is likely to cause or whether not travelling and using alternatives is the best option?
A new tool is coming on to the UK market which will allow companies to carry out these measurements. Even before its formal arrival FUSITRAM® and its owner Sustainable Opportunity Solutions (SOS) has won the CSR prize in the Business Travel Show Innovation Awards.
Paul Adderely, inventor of FUSITRAM® and managing director of SOS, said the tool would help companies define what is sustainable travel.
The new tool would evaluate a journey against the company's sustainability criteria.
Here there were three key groups affected by such a definition:
* the corporate body itself which would set out its objectives in corporate social responsibility (CSR)
* the different units of a business which would have different levels of travel from the tax people who did little travelling to the mergers and acquisition people who flew around the world
* the individual employees and the impact travel had on them.
So if the criteria included cost, time, levels of carbon emissions, traveller stress, traveller productivity, all these would be measured against the various ways a journey could be made.
For example, if the trip from Edinburgh to London were to be made by plane, what would the ratings be for each of the above criteria? High for carbon emissions, stress and productivity, lower for cost and time.
The same measurement would then be applied if the journey were taken by train, car or, most different of all, not travelling but using alternatives.
"The tool would benchmark against all the options and indicate whether the journey by car or by train or by plane complied with the definitions, was below them or exceeded them," Mr Adderley said.
"It is not a carbon calculator but includes other factors like costs, productivity and stress. It does not break down each indicator but it will tell you whether it satisfies the criteria. We are not defining what is stress or what is the productivity but providing a guide and the mechanism."
|Paul Adderely (R), with Dave Chapple (L)|
The concept of FUSITRAM®
came to Mr Adderley as he was studying for a master's degree in sustainability at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. He had worked for several years and in many different offices for PricewaterhouseCoopers where he developed an interest in sustainability.
He used the methodology acquired in his studies to build the FUSITRAM® product.
One crucial thing about the new tool is that it assesses the impact of the various types of travel before the trip takes place, allowing the company and the traveller to decide which way to proceed. Other tools, especially those calculating carbon emissions, only swing into action after the trip.
A further plus for the tool, Mr Adderley said, was that it helped fill what he called the "compliance gap" between what the company CSR objectives were and what was "actually happening on the ground through a stated and consistent methodology for every journey." He said d this gap was "very apparent" in the travel industry.
Mr Adderley said that if a company had 1000 travellers, it was also likely to have 1000 decision makers on travel. "Sustainable decision making is very complex. For example, carbon calculations. So how do you pull all this together?
"If you are doing it manually, it becomes time consuming and there might not be the commitment. It seemed that the travel industry saw CSR and sustainability as solely about carbon emissions.
"FUSITRAM® is moving beyond the carbon issue and taking a more holistic approach to sustainability," he said.
"The industry sees the need to be green but it is not quite there yet. It is now coming to them intuitively. It is common sense really."