June 14, 2024

Emburse poll: Business travellers put convenience and loyalty schemes before sustainability

Business travellers aren’t prioritising sustainability enough, according to a survey by Emburse. 

The spend optimisation leader surveyed 1,003 employees and 254 employers to find out where sustainability fits within the business travel agenda. 

Emburse reported that business travellers rank convenience (27%) and loyalty programmes (21%) as more important than environmental concerns (16%).  

Despite this, 38% of businesses have increased investment in sustainability, with 71% implementing a formal sustainability policy or guidelines. However, only 37% of these businesses actively enforce these policies during bookings and travel expense approvals. 

The survey highlighted that 74% of business travellers believe it is their organisation’s responsibility to enable sustainable business travel, regardless of cost. 

The majority of employees (76%) also agreed they would take a more sustainable mode of transport if financial incentives or sustainability programmes were available. 

Jeroen van Velzen, SVP Travel & Mobility at Emburse, said: “Business travel has defied expectations by seeing an almost complete return to pre-pandemic levels. But we can’t just go back to business as usual when it comes to emissions. Businesses and travellers both need to work on reducing their carbon footprint. It’s promising that more organisations are putting sustainability guidelines and policies into place, but this data shows we still have a long way to go until it becomes a priority. 

“Whilst travel managers could strictly enforce their companies’ policies to help achieve carbon goals, this heavy-handed approach risks alienating travelling employees. Educating travellers about the impact of their trips in easy-to-understand terms – like how many houses could be powered by the energy used on a trip – can lead to much higher levels of compliance.  

“Employers need to provide employees with tools to make smarter decisions, and employees need to use that insight to make more environmentally friendly travel plans. We need to move beyond paying lip service to environmental issues and turn good intent into meaningful action.”