May 18, 2024

Hot topic

We tested the temperature on your approach to tackling climate change with our latest travel buyer survey. Here are the results...

Has your organisation set specific sustainability targets, are they achievable, who is driving them and are your travelling employees even aware of them?

These are just some of the questions we asked in our latest survey, this time dedicated to the important subject of sustainability.

With the requirement to reduce the carbon footprint of business travel now very much part of a travel manager’s remit, we wanted to check in to see where you’re all at on your road to net zero and what obstacles are still in your way.

It’s reassuring to see that nearly two thirds of you have already set clear targets but worrying that nearly a third admit these goals are difficult to achieve.

The higher costs of lower emissions alternatives and a lack of information in your booking tools are the two key barriers.

At this stage, none of you are mandating traveller behaviour, instead taking a more gentle approach. With new reporting rules coming into force, it will be interesting to see if this changes.

Perhaps one of the most positive findings is that the vast majority of you want to travel more responsibly not just to meet legal requirements, or to protect your organisation’s reputation, but because you want to drive positive change. Well done!

Has your organisation set specific targets to reduce its business travel carbon footprint?

How would you best describe your sustainability goals?

Setting targets is one thing but meeting them is another. Having the right data is key.

“You don’t know what you’re trying to solve unless you look at the trajectory of your business,” says Phillip Charm, co-Founder of Clarasight.

“You need to understand historical emissions and costs, the key drivers of these, and then understand what they are projected to look like and test different scenarios to find the best path forward.”

Are your employees travelling less than last year to reduce your emissions?

How much of your travel programme/ policy is driven by sustainability?

Are your travellers fully aware of your organisation’s sustainability goals?

In order to change traveller behaviour, how would you best describe your approach?

Alongside guidance and gentle nudging, experts advise using healthy competition between divisions to drive better behaviour.

“Sales teams, often the most frequent travellers, are naturally competitive so challenge them to be the best at cutting their footprint,” suggests Sally Higgs at Festive Road.

Are you able to encourage more responsible behaviour at point of booking?

It’s good to see that developments in booking technology are making it easier for you to influence behaviour at point of sale, with the vast majority of you able to this at least sometimes.

 A global barometer by the GBTA found similar figures and noted that point of sale presents a huge opportunity for companies to nudge their  travellers to make more responsible choices.

“The good news is that many travel intermediaries are currently displaying (or are planning to display) emissions at point of sale, providing emission calculation services and carbon-offsetting options,” the GBTA report added.

Does your organisation currently set carbon budgets?

Does your organisation offset its business travel?

How is your organisation reducing its air travel carbon footprint?

What are the main barriers to achieving your carbon reduction goals?

The responses to this question reflect those in the latest global survey by the GBTA, showing UK travel managers aren’t alone.

While other barriers were identified, the higher cost of lower emission alternatives is still the number one issue. Suppliers take note.

Are you tracking your business travel emissions?

Are you reporting your business travel emissions?

Getting meaningful data by tracking your emissions is key to success, and not just for reporting reasons.

It can be used to show your C-suite and travellers what action needs to be taken.

“Your audience will be interested to know what’s driving your sustainability initiatives. Show them a peek behind the curtain. Tell them that a change is happening and how it will impact them,” says Eve Smith Communication and Change Management Lead, Global at FCM.

But she also warns against overloading them with too much information or detail.

Who is mainly driving/managing your organisation’s carbon reduction efforts?

The majority of travel buyers who completed our survey have more than 1,000 travellers and annual travel spends in excess of £10 million, so we weren’t surprised to see that they also have dedicated sustainability teams helping them to drive their net zero strategies.

But not everyone has the luxury of having a dedicated sustainability team. If this is the case, it’s good to get champions on board, whether that’s at a senior management level or among your executive assistants.

“There will be people in your organisation who are particularly passionate about sustainability. Use these people to influence behaviour,” says Sally Higgs at Festive Road

What is your organisation’s key motivation for reducing its travel carbon footprint?

READER PROFILE

Annual expenditure on business travel and meetings

Up to £500,000…………………………………. 15%

£500,001 – £1,000,000 …………………………. 4%

£1,000,001 – £5,000,000 ………………………. 4%

£5,000,001 – £10,000,000 …………………….. 8%

£10,000,001 – £20,000,000 …………………. 15%

£20,000,001 – £100,000,000 ………………… 29%

£100,000,001+ …………………………………. 25%

Number of travellers in the organisation

1 – 50 ……………………………………………… 13%

51 – 250 ……………………………………………. 4%

251 – 500 ………………………………………….. 2%

501 – 1000 ………………………………………… 6%

1000+  ……………………………………………. 75%