Many organizations are already implementing sustainable practices as they work towards Net Zero, aiming to reduce global warming by cutting CO2 emissions. The environmental impact of business travel is a key focus.
Providing the right information to travel managers, bookers and travelers, which gives them the opportunity to make more sustainable travel choices and reduce carbon footprints, is essential.
Our latest webinar, How to empower your travelers to make more sustainable choices, is led by Reed & Mackay’s Sustainability Director Chris Truss, VP Business Development, US, Irene Bar-Am and Head of Product Marketing, Edd Harris. They explore why now is the right time to deliver a more sustainable travel program; where travel buyers are experiencing the biggest challenges; the steps required to deliver a sustainable travel program; and how Reed & Mackay’s latest technology innovation can help.
WHY IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME FOR A SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL PROGRAM?
Truss highlighted that corporations should be integrating sustainability holistically into their travel programs, if they’re not already doing so. This is driven by four main reasons.
“Government legislation around reporting sustainability – sparked by the Paris Agreement in 2016 – is either here or about to be implemented, ranging from the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in Europe, coming in 2024, to legislative changes happening in the US, which companies will have to comply with,” he says.
“The second driver is companies’ own CSR commitments – these are what attracts the best talent to the organization, as well as what wins new, and retains current, business,” Truss adds.
The other points to consider are corporate travelers’ needs – in the past two years, 60% of travelers have chosen to travel more sustainably – and the requirement for high-performing metrics that capture sustainability performance.
“You have to ask, what does it mean to be really sustainable?” Truss says. “It not only has to be around environmental concerns. It has to be about a company’s financial sustainability.
“That includes financial reporting and demonstrating how being sustainable is delivering ROI for a business,” he adds. “And it’s also about social responsibility, around traveler wellbeing and performance.”
WHERE DO THE CHALLENGES LIE?
We asked attendees pre-webinar where they’re experiencing challenges with implementing sustainability in their travel programs. Lack of education and awareness around sustainable travel took the top spot with 35%. And almost a quarter (24%) cited that their travelers are currently unwilling to compromise on mode or class of travel.
Bar-Am explains this is where a TMC can provide recommendations and guidance. “We’d firstly advise establishing who’s accountable for implementing a company’s sustainable travel program,” she says. “It needs to be collective across the business, but it starts at the top with the C-suite. They need to lead the direction and communicate the vision.”
The webinar further highlighted how and where sustainability managers, travel managers, bookers and travelers can take action.
WHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE?
Truss revealed the six main steps that are necessary for a robust sustainable travel program – calculate, advocate, avoid, reduce, mitigate and compensate.
“These steps are where TMCs can assist clients,” Truss adds. “You need a strong reporting platform and a well-written policy that aligns back to the company’s CSR goal.
“You also need an understanding of the business’ objectives; then you can drive the sustainable travel program. And it doesn’t have to be a speedy implementation. We’d recommend slowly introducing change if this is completely new to the business.”
Companies also have to establish what’s stopping travelers from choosing the most sustainable option. Harris explains the challenges at hand.
“Travel managers may say they don’t have the right tools to make sustainable choices for their travelers. Or that travelers aren’t motivated to make a sustainable choice,” he says. “Again, this is where a TMC can provide the solutions to these challenges.”
To discover what these solutions are, plus see how Reed & Mackay’s technology demonstrates carbon-aware data at the point of sale for air travel, rail, car and hotels, to make an easy sustainable choice, watch the full webinar.