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Business at the Speed of Sustainable Travel


Business at the Speed of Sustainable Travel

Gerben Broekema addresses the issue of travel and sustainability through his experience as a globetrotting aviation advisor. 

A long read sharing my reflections on how sustainable my advisory role flying across the world is, linking it to the broader discussion on growth of aviation with some counterintuitive conclusions

What an amazing year 2018 has been… Leaving mid-2017 the safe haven of corporate life at an organization I felt so passionate about since I was 10 years old was not an easy step, but the in many ways rewarding role as independent aviation advisor has clearly turned out to be the right step at the right time. Having had the opportunity to support airports, airlines, governments and investors ranging from small organisations and start-ups with high relevance in their respective regions to the world’s largest airports and airlines across 6 continents either working alongside the inspiring consulting organisations I am partnering with or serving them on my own has made my professional life so satisfying. However, while global opportunities have brought me so much, I too am very conscious about the environmental footprint my business has. The carbon emission I have caused probably is 1000 times higher than the average emission level of a household in the Netherlands. On top of that, I contribute to noise pollution and emission of ultra-fine particles. This awareness was further enhanced recently when I attended a full day workshop on the Netherlands’ future aviation policy organized by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management attended mostly by organisations and individuals passionately fighting for less noise and lower emissions. Their cause is worth fighting for. And I too want to leave my three wonderful children a world that is at least as ‘clean’ as I have inherited it. So, the question I started to reflect on in these end-of-year days is: how sustainable is my life as globetrotting aviation advisor? In doing so, I came to realize that these reflections may be worth sharing. They highlight dynamics and trade-offs all of us individually are confronted with, also when not travelling as much as I do. But moreover, the microlevel assessment of how sustainable my own business is and can be, can well be applied to the broader policy debate about the future of aviation that certainly in Europe has become very intense. LinkedIn may not be the right platform for long reads, but what still is these days?

In my reflections I will address two elements of sustainability: first, I’ll review the potential and desirability of reducing business trips and secondly, what I can do to reduce the environmental impact of my air travel. I will end with a conclusion related not only to the sustainability of my own company but also will translate this into implications for the policy debate on the future of aviation

Can I reduce the need for flying? 


Key points include:

  • The benefits of social media
  • Securing projects closer to home
  • Reducing the environmental impact of flying


Access the full article, My new life as globetrotting independent aviation advisor: how sustainable is it?, on LinkedIn.