Doing even the smallest things can help make a difference when it comes to conscious travelling. Responsible travellers can look to utilise airlines with a conscience, to facilitate their sustainability goals. And by voting with their wallets, they can drive further sustainability across other operators.
A factor that has more impact than we realise, as travellers, is how much ‘stuff’ we pack. Many don’t appreciate the impact that something as simple as weight has on the environment with regards to air travel. But the heavier the aircraft, the greater the CO2 emissions so ‘packing light’ meets more than just a minimalism goal – it’s imperative for the greater good. That goes for the materials used in cabins too. While at it, passengers that aim to pack eco-friendly essentials such as refillable water bottles, reusable bags, lunch boxes, utensils and product packaging, will be doing that much extra for the environment.
Pushing the direction of travel
While there is no doubt that airlines and passengers can do impactful work with regards to promoting more sustainable travel, there has to be support from the aviation industry to really drive conversation, encourage and implement regulations and ultimately enforce accountability. We know that businesses are habitually against regulation as it usually impacts the bottom line. Nonetheless, in an industry that significantly affects the environment in such an adverse way, tough regulatory input is central to altering the trajectory.
The UK government is acting by promising £125m to the Future Flight Challenge fund to support greener initiatives in the aviation industry – an important step towards streamlining future travel. In fact, the UK is leading
the way in greener travel with coalitions like Sustainable Aviation which, is working to meet the UK’s climate commitments. Crucially though, this is a large-scale problem that requires a global response and formal regulations will be critical to change.