EDINBURGH, United States — A ten-step program developed by the Institute of Travel Management seeks to explain the potential damages caused by extensive air travel and present options and business cases for reducing the need to travel.

The ICARUS Toolkit is part of the ITM's corporate social responsibility initiative, and contains corporate case studies highlighting successes in the use of video conferencing, ground transportation, and wider environmental activities.

ITM Executive Director Paul Tilstone said that the reaction from members and from the business travel industry to Project ICARUS had been tremendous. "There can be no bigger issue than CSR in our industry right now. The theme of [the 2007 ITM] conference is Responsible Travel Management, and we've already encouraged conference delegates to take responsibility for offsetting their own travel to and from the conference."

The ICARUS toolkit offers a four-step plan to creating a responsible business travel policy, including finding ways to reducing or eradicating business travel, as well as exploring the effectiveness of various carbon-offsetting programs.

As examples of companies that have adopted different approaches to mitigating their climate impact, the toolkit explores three case studies: Credit Suisse, Vodafone, and Unilever. Credit Suisse set a target of carbon neutrality by the year 2010, by more stringently evaluating the need for business travel, increasing videoconferencing, and encouraging rail travel over air travel. Vodafone's plan to reduce air travel resulted in a 20 percent decline in air travel, a drop attributed in part to videoconferencing. And Unilever's newly introduced plan to consolidate and improve its use of automobiles for transit could help trim its nearly $3 million yearly budget for cars and taxis.

The full toolkit is available online at ITM.org.uk.