Green Business Travel Hits the Desktop

Kudos to Purchasing for calling out a recent Rearden Commerce announcement highlighting some of its latest green features. Purchasing notes that "new features are environmentally friendly and include an intelligent carbon calculator, web and audio conferencing and hybrid car services." In my view, the carbon calculator is the most interesting. It "points out to users data-driven benefits of more eco-friendly travel choices, such as opting for conferencing rather than air travel." And "at the point of purchase, the tool displays a 'Did You Know' factoid on the amount of emissions produced by a flight users are booking." Although I doubt this personal digital nagging voice will succeed in changing the behaviors of many business travelers, showing the carbon footprint of a particular trip is useful information to have to make the most informed decision. Besides, given the hype surrounding green at the moment, it's good marketing, too.

Another cool aspect of the release is how Rearden can now "guides users to an expanded ecosystem of car service providers across the U.S. offering gasoline-saving hybrid vehicles ... [with which] Rearden Commerce has arranged pre-negotiated discounts with these providers for its customers." Still, the irony of all this is that most folks renting hybrids have no clue how to drive them for efficiency. In fact, I'd challenge most renters to compare the typical gas mileage they might get on a Prius to a more conventional compact. They'll find it's quite similar, I'm guessing. That's because the only way to get the promised mileage out of a hybrid is to learn to use the battery system -- which requires a very light foot off line -- for maximum efficiency. Otherwise, the supposed "green rental deed" is anything but, as the carbon footprint from the fossil fuel burning will combine with the environmental impact of the battery production and disposal to result in exactly what Rearden was trying to help you avoid. Food for green thought, I suppose.

- Jason Busch

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