As environmentalists gather at Heathrow Airport to protest against the impact of air travel on climate change, a university research group tasked with helping the aviation industry meet the challenges of expansion has released details of a business toolkit to encourage greener business travel.

The new toolkit is one of the first outcomes of a £5 million Government-funded knowledge transfer partnership called Omega.

Led by Manchester Metropolitan University with Cambridge and Cranfield Universities, the project involves six other universities – Oxford, Reading, Southampton, Sheffield, Leeds and Loughborough – Government departments and the likes of British Airways, Rolls Royce, Airbus, Manchester Airport and NGOs like the Aviation Environment Federation.

Focusing on carbon emissions, the toolkit has been developed by the Institute of Travel Management and academics at Cranfield University’s Business Travel Research Centre to guide those who purchase and use business travel to make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The toolkit – called Icarus – is available free of charge online for users to download. It includes: environmental travel policy guidelines recommended CO2 measurement tools a list of video conference facilities around the UK video conference practical training exercises CO2 ready reckoner FAQs and useful links Icarus informs business travel buyers and suppliers of environmental concerns and possible courses of action to reduce their carbon footprint.

Its intention in the first instance is to respond to the trend for increasing corporate social responsibility in business and to encourage and help the UK travel industry to reduce carbon emissions in line with government targets.

Support by Omega to develop the toolkit illustrates one facet of Omega’s broadly based approach to promoting future sustainability for the aviation sector. Developing market and attitudinal measures to reduce emissions is just as important as exploring technological and operational approaches. Omega is working with stakeholders in all these areas.


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