Sustainable travelling — an interview with Jiri Kupiainen, CEO of Matchmade
At GamesForest.Club, we pay a lot of attention not only to reforestation and conservation of forests but also to what the gaming companies can do in their daily operations to preserve the environment and conquer climate change. Travelling plays a significant role in the gaming industry: commuting, going to conferences, attending meet-ups and networking events, travelling between offices, and meeting with partners and clients. Fortunately, it is also an excellent opportunity to show your mindful and sustainable approach and make a difference for the future.
Therefore, we have interviewed Jiri, a CEO of Matchmade, who is not only an expert in the gaming industry but also has a fantastic experience in sustainable travelling. Jiri has travelled to multiple conferences and events and is now ready to share his expertise about the best and most efficient travel methods while also minimising the damage to our nature.
Hello Jiri! Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. Let’s start with the main concept: what does sustainable travelling mean to you?
It’s been a big source of cognitive dissonance for me for sure. Travel is hugely important to me both in the hippie “bringing people together” sense as well as an important part of business, but I’m also keenly aware that all the jetting around done by my friends and business partners can’t go on like this. So I’m trying to raise awareness of other ways of getting around and thinking of travel in my own admittedly limited ways, like posting about my extensive train trips on LinkedIn.
How do you usually commute to work? Go on vacation? On a business trip?
Commuting to work nowadays mostly means changing rooms (we’ve always been very remote-friendly and remote-first for a long time now at Matchmade), but when we still had an office in Berlin I would ride my bike there. For longer distance travel, I’m trying to give up flying completely, and so in practice most of my business trips are done by train, and most of my personal trips are done by electric car. I’m intimately familiar with the Berlin-London train trip as well as all the charging stations on the Berlin-Helsinki route.
What was the most memorable environmentally friendly trip? Why?
I did a lot of Interrail travel when I was younger – just felt like a fun way to see the world, even though I wasn’t necessarily as aware as I’m now of the massive difference in emissions between rail and plane travel. Trains are such a magical way to travel – you can see the landscape change, you meet new people, everything just feels much more human.
Do you reduce/offset your carbon footprint after travelling?
Offsetting is a complicated topic, but I’ve typically made one larger donation every year to offset my travels. Going forward we hope to just do this through GamesForest.Club for the entire company.
What can you tell people who say that sustainable travelling is more expensive and/or time-consuming?
Don’t get me started on how messed up subsidies for different forms of travel are right now. I wish our politicians would grow some spines and rapidly shift the subsidies given to the airline industry to sustainable forms of travel. So yes, it unfortunately can be more expensive today to travel in a sustainable manner, but that will hopefully change.
As for the time spent, we should reset our expectations and move away from the modern ultra-efficiency mindset. When people hear “8 hours on a train”, they often equate that with “8 hours on a plane”, and that’s completely wrong. 8 hours on a train passes quickly – you can easily get work done, you have plenty of space to move around, there’s endless pleasant scenery outside the window, etc. Travel is a part of the trip and something you should make the most of, not “unproductive time”.
What should travelling to the conferences look like in the future?
I think the whole business development scene will look very different in the future. I don’t see physical events going away, but it could be that in the future people doing business development work will be much more nomadic, slowly travelling around the world, meeting with business partners and attending events at a very different pace to today. Long distance flights probably won’t go away, but people will hopefully become much more aware of the emissions cost of these & think twice before flying transatlantic for a couple of days at GDC. And I’m happy to see more and more people switching to train travel for inter-EU trips already!
What’s your next conference and how do you get there?
Gamescom! I have some meetings in Paris and Amsterdam before heading to Cologne, so looking forward to several awesome train trips in the next couple of weeks.
If you had a huge billboard and you could put any message on it, what would you say to the gaming industry?
Our industry reaches 3 billion people, and those people vote. Let’s make sure the politicians hear the call for climate solutions today.
Thank you very much, Jiri!
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