Legislation requiring reporting on sustainability initiatives is fast approaching. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which came into force at the start of 2023, means ‘the first companies will have to apply the new rules for the first time in the 2024 financial year, for reports published in 2025’.
Furthermore, if your company has a subsidiary in the EU, it will need to report according to the CSRD. By 2026 it will apply to SMEs too and it will also come to businesses that are headquartered in the UK but do business in the EU.
Alongside the EU, the UK is currently one of the most dynamic ESG regulatory jurisdictions in 2023. Meanwhile, in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced plans last year to ‘enhance and standardise climate-related disclosures’.
So it’s more urgent than ever that travellers are on board with a sustainable travel programme, to help your organisation meet committed ESG goals.
To help you consider where, when and how to use more eco-friendly transport in travel programmes, check this round-up of new rail routes, the top cities for public transport, plus the lowdown on booking electric cars.
Rail is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. Trains use far fewer carbon emissions than other forms of transport. Europe could reduce CO2 emissions by one million tonnes per year by switching domestic flights to rail journeys, according to research from data intelligence provider Mabrian Technologies.
And there are other reasons to choose the train for your business travel. You can work easily on the train with WiFi access. Plus it saves airport queuing time, as cities’ train stations are often in their centre. And don’t forget the potential opportunity to enjoy incredible scenery en route too.
Train connections are particularly extensive across Europe and, over the coming year, there are even more initiatives to boost this sustainable way of travelling. We’re already witnessing many clients implementing a rail over air strategy within their programme policy for domestic travel.
· The European Commission is set to support ten pilot projects into new cross-border rail links, which is set to improve speed and frequency across cross-border journeys. The projects, which include new services connecting Austria and Hungary and sleeper services from Amsterdam and Paris, will be a boost for sustainable travel.
· France has already banned some domestic air routes where there is a suitable high-speed train journey of less than two and a half hours.
· Spain’s high-speed train operator has launched new routes linking Barcelona and Lyon and Barcelona, Madrid and Marseille. As Business Travel News Europe revealed: ‘Tickets for travel within France are currently being sold for just €9 to remain competitive in the French market. Rail travel is a growing competitor for air travel with operators citing a range of benefits including a lower-carbon footprint than air’.
· Spain also extended its free-of-charge travel on select short- and medium-length train journeys until the end of 2023. While the initiative is aimed at season ticket holders, international travellers have the option to claim 50% off their tickets on long-distance journeys in accordance with the scheme.
· European Sleeper launched a new night train service earlier this summer between Brussels and Berlin, via Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The train operator then plans to extend this night-train service from Berlin to Dresden and Prague in 2024.
· At the end of this year, the Nightjet night train service between Brussels and Vienna will run daily; it currently runs three times a week.
· In 2024, France and Germany will introduce a new TGV train route between Paris and Berlin. This high-speed link is expected to take seven hours.
· In the United States too, more trains are due to enter service on the key Northeast Corridor route between Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. in late 2023.
If net-zero targets are to be met by 2050 businesses are increasingly looking into more sustainable travel. And, if rail travel is not always possible, consider hiring electric vehicles (EV).
Points to consider:
· When planning travel budgets, factor in that – at the moment – EVs may be slightly more expensive to hire than petrol or diesel cars, as the price per kilowatt fluctuates depending on the time of day and popularity of the chargers.
· Plan where the charging points are situated along your route. City centres and major hubs are the places they’re most likely to be. EVs know where there are chargers en route and will direct you to one. If your route isn’t going directly pass those, plan enough journey time to stop off to charge the vehicle.
· Check out where charge points offer rapid charging, to minimise your journey time. Did you know there are 40,150 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK (as of April 2023), 7,647 of which are rapid devices, according to the Department for Transport? This also works well for employee wellbeing on longer drives – they can take a mandated break and rest.
· Consider introducing car sharing for your corporate travellers – a great budget saver and a more eco-friendly way to travel.
SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Once you’re in a destination for a meeting or event, take advantage of its public transport systems. The World Economic Forum published a report into the world’s cities for transport provision. Hong Kong took the top spot, followed by Zurich and Stockholm. Tokyo and Singapore made it into the top ten, as did the European cities of Helsinki, Oslo, Paris, Berlin and London.
And if you want to find the cities that have the most eco-friendly public transport, the Clean Cities Campaign ranked 42 cities for zero-emission transport. Topping the list were Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Helsinki, Milan, Lyon, Ljubljana and Lisbon.
ARE YOU A REED & MACKAY CLIENT?
Reed & Mackay has empowered its travellers to make sustainable choices without compromising travel experience or budget. This is thanks to enhanced CO2 data for air, rail, car hire and hotel, within the global TMC’s proprietary online booking platform, R&M/Book. This is the first in a series of sustainability focused enhancements over the coming months. Contact your Client Success Manager for a sustainability policy review.