Green Travel Go Ahead


Which travel organizations are making real progress on climate change? One company that deserves a pat on the back is the U.K.-based rail and bus operator, the Go-Ahead Group.

Go-Ahead has just become the first travel company to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard. The company operates the Gatwick Express train service from Gatwick Airport to central London, train services in southern England and the Midlands and numerous public bus routes throughout the U.K. What this means is that Go-Ahead has been able to measure its carbon emissions and prove that it has reduced them over the past few years. The company faces reassessment every two years and must continue to reduce emissions in order to retain the accreditation.

There’s a lot of noise in the business world about carbon neutrality but climate change scientists tell us that, while carbon offsetting is all well and good, the real focus needs to be on reducing carbon emissions. The Carbon Trust Standard is different from other programs such as ISO 14001 because it’s about reductions, not offsetting. It’s currently a U.K. program supported by the government. The purpose is to help large organizations comply with European Union regulations going into effect in 2010 as well as allow them to market their environmental credentials without accusations of greenwash.

But since the Carbon Trust Standard doesn’t really have an equivalent elsewhere and the background work on methodology is already done, the management is considering taking it international. While the Go-Ahead Group might be the first to reach the Carbon Trust Standard, it’s not the only travel company doing the right thing. Eurostar, which operates the service from London to Paris or Brussels is another train operator with an excellent environmental record. Of course, travelling by train or bus is already better for the environment than flying or driving, with or without a certification.

Image: jan the manson