See the CO2 emissions in a business trip to London

We are all aware of the importance of CO2 emissions but most of us have no idea where to start.

The brand new CarbonCalc feature within MyExpenses instantly empowers you to make positive changes in your business and most importantly, begin your commitment to saving our planet.

As mentioned previously, businesses are increasingly likely to consider carbon footprint when choosing their suppliers. To reduce their impact on the climate they will be looking to work with others that are implementing carbon strategies

In addition to this, customers are likely to choose a carbon-friendly business.

An independent survey conducted by SmartestEnergy found that 81% of people prefer to use products and services from sustainable brands

Social responsibility and saving the planet are the primary objective.

However, the increasing demand for sustainable businesses is a growth opportunity for all organisations.

At Civica, we have made carbon commitments. Our collective aim is to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2040 (if not sooner). We’re making meaningful reductions to both our direct emissions and our wider supply-chain GHGs to hit our targets.

One of the changes we have made is for employees to work from home where possible, significantly reducing overall travel emissions.

Any positive change starts by fully understanding our contributions to the problem.

Did you know that in the UK, the biggest offender of CO2 emissions is transport?

Transport currently makes up around 27% of all Greenhouse Gases. Cars account for 79% of the total of all road vehicles in the UK.

With this in mind, I’m going to show you how the new CarbonCalc feature within MyExpenses works.

This powerful carbon calculator can automatically measure all of your company travel using the latest UK Government Data.

It’s also intuitive making it extremely user-friendly.

  • If your journey involves jumping on a train it features every train station in Europe.
  • When you’re hopping on a bus it finds your nearest bus stop.

I used CarbonCalc to measure my business travel emissions for a meeting at head office.

I’m going to take you through each step of the claim line and show you how it looks in the MyExpenses App by taking screenshots from my smartphone.

As a result of this, we’ll find out the number of miles travelled and most importantly, the carbon emissions of the full journey over all methods of transport taken.

Calculating the CO2 emissions of a business trip:

First off I needed to get to the railway station so I called my local taxi company.

The GHG emissions in an11 mile taxi ride.

The carbon emissions from the first journey of the day came out at 2.52 kg of CO2 .

Tracking carbon emissions of train & underground travel:

Next up, for the largest step of the journey, I caught the train from Stoke-on-Trent to London Euston.

Business Expense Train Journey with Carbon Tracking from Stoke to London.

After almost 2 hours on the train, I expected this one to be a whopper!

To my surprise, it came out at less than 4x the emissions of the taxi to the station.

This was unexpected, because the distance travelled by train was 146 miles, 14 times further than the taxi ride.

However, upon careful consideration, the train would have travelled to London regardless of my presence. Whereas had I travelled down by car it’s likely I would have been the sole reason for the vehicle’s journey. Not to mention, the train had lots more passengers to offset some of the emissions.

Although sometimes unavoidable in business, driving solo is one of the most carbon-intensive methods of travel.

Upon arriving at London Euston I took advantage of the London Underground by taking the tube on the direct Northern Line to Waterloo.

Carbon Emissions of a London Underground Tube journey used for business expense claim.

Now, less than a mile away from my destination, I went for an even more, carbon-friendly approach. Taking the opportunity to get some steps in by walking the rest of the way.

Fortunately, following a 3-hour journey, the meeting was a success. It was time to seek out the hotel after a long day. Another chance to get some steps in as Google Maps directed me on the 0.4-mile walk.

Hotel stays are also measured by CarbonCalc as shown during my overnight visit in nearby Southwark that evening. Not including the mile of walking, the total distance covered by travel expenses came in at 159 miles.

GHG Emissions of a London 1-night stay on a business trip.

The carbon emissions of an overnight hotel stay:

The emissions for my overnight stay were quite surprising to me. However, then I began to think about all of the hotel processes that can often be taken for granted:

  • The travel of all hotel staff.
  • The cleaning of the sheets, towels, and room.
  • The energy consumed during the actual stay, water, and electricity.

Once these processes are taken into consideration, the high emissions start to become clearer.

The most fascinating part of my first foray into Carbon Calculations has been the thought-provoking results of seeing your emissions.

It quickly made me consider the processes that go into some of the things we’ve long taken for granted.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the most carbon-aware employee but this has definitely helped to increase my awareness. This individual awareness is crucial for all UK businesses in reducing our carbon Footprint’s and becoming sustainable as a collective.

After the claim line has been submitted, the emissions for the claim then go into the system and can be viewed using multiple reporting tools. The total emissions for this claim were 24kg of CO2e.

UK Company Carbon Footprint Reporting Analysis

For the return journey I was fortunate enough to jump in the car for a lift with a colleague who was travelling back up north. Now, feeling inquisitive, I also input this journey into the app to see what the emissions would be:

Co2 Emissions of Business Trip by Diesel Car in the UK.

Had I travelled alone in my car, the GHG emissions for this one journey would’ve been significantly higher than the whole preceding leg of the travel – including my overnight stay.

NB: The emissions above may differ slightly from the actual journey in this instance, because the calculations above are based on my 2.0 litre diesel estate car. The 1.7 litre petrol vehicle used on the return would likely have delivered slightly different numbers.

Final thoughts on automatic carbon calculations

Firstly, from a user-perspective this powerful new CarbonCalc feature is intuitive and easy to use.

You simply submit your expense claims as usual and the CO2 Emissions are completely automatic.

Second, and in my opinion more importantly; CarbonCalc has already started to change my perception.

It’s both eye-opening and thought provoking.

For example, I would never have known that trains are a more carbon-friendly method of travel than car for this particular trip.

I’m no mathematician but it’s clear to see that the rail travel emits less than a third of the car GHGs. The entire 172 mile distance by car emits around 350% more GHGs than the equivalent distance by rail.

CarbonCalc provides a greater understanding and insight into our individual and collective impact on the environment.

Seeing the individual carbon emissions at source is one thing but the reporting tools really help see the bigger picture.

You can see your emission reports month by month, as well as view your impact on your organisation as a whole via the charting tools.

Yet again, these reports are delivered automatically. No need for spreadsheets.

There is a pressing need to start tracking your emissions as soon as possible to compliment your carbon strategy. When you have this data available, you can begin to set your future targets.

For this reason, all current MyExpenses customers can have their CO2 emissions backdated from their previous 6 months expense claims.

We all need to start somewhere and we need to start NOW.

CarbonCalc is the starting point that will help drive your organisation to carbon net zero