May 20, 2024

Ask the Expert: Sustainable travel policies

Dana Moore, Agiito Proposition Manager Air, Ancillary and Sustainability, shares her expertise on making sustainability a key part of your travel policy

What are the benefits of having a sustainable travel policy?

A sustainable business travel policy not only influences an organisation’s carbon footprint reduction but also provides employees with the right support and information to carry out their duties safely and effectively, and taking into consideration supply chain due diligence, duty of care, carbon budgeting, environmental impacts and wellbeing.

Why is stakeholder engagement so important?

In today’s environmentally-conscious society, stakeholders – customers, investors and employees – expect organisations to be transparent about their environmental practices. Reporting emissions from business travel is a crucial step towards meeting these expectations. It demonstrates a company’s commitment to sustainability and can enhance its reputation among stakeholders.

ESG regulations are evolving all the time. What does this mean for business travel?

Today, many organisations operating in the EU or UK are already reporting on their scope 1-3 emissions, which includes precise emissions across their full supply chain and detailed plans of how they are going to reduce them this decade. The UK has already made significant progress in this area with the introduction of various reporting frameworks, which provide guidelines and standards for companies to report on their ESG performance, ensuring transparency, consistency, governance, and cross industry comparability.

By embracing corporate disclosure reporting, organisations enhance their reputation and can also attract responsible investors and consumers. It enables investors to make informed decisions, directing their investments towards organisations that align with their values and contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.

What can I do to encourage more sustainable behaviours?

Having the right communication strategy in place is key to educating travellers on the negative impact frequent travel has on both the environment and wellbeing, empowering them to choose more sustainable carbon alternatives. This not only generates cost and carbon savings, but also improves employee work-life balance and overall wellbeing.

How can TMCs support customers?

Traditional business travel often comes with a significant carbon footprint due to air travel, hotel stays and transportation. TMCs can actively promote and offer sustainable travel options to their customers, track and report sustainability metrics and collaborate with sustainable suppliers, supporting their customers to monitor their progress towards sustainability goals and identify areas for improvement.

By incorporating these strategies, TMCs can become valuable partners in helping customers achieve their sustainability objectives. TMCs, their customers and suppliers should come together to help transform the travel industry into a more sustainable and responsible sector.

What are your top tips for more sustainable travel?

Maximise the efficiency of each journey by combining multiple meetings or events into one trip to reduce the overall carbon emissions and support traveller wellbeing. Consider trains before planes. Trains are more energy-efficient per passenger mile than planes or cars, making them one of the most eco-friendly transportation options (outside of walking or riding bikes).

Look for hotels or accommodations that prioritise sustainability, such as those with energy-efficient practices, waste reduction initiatives, and eco-friendly amenities and green credentials.

Whenever possible, explore virtual meeting options like video conferences or webinars. This reduces the need for travel altogether and saves time and resources. Consider offsetting the residual carbon emissions from your business travel by investing in verified nature-based, green technology and SAF carbon offset projects. This helps neutralise the environmental impact of your travel.

Dana Moore is Proposition Manager Air, Ancillary and Sustainability for travel management company Agiito