June 13, 2024

Shifting the narrative

Paralysis by data is threatening to hold the industry back in its path to Net Zero, says Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association

As we move further into 2023, we get closer to the NetZero by 2050 goal. In turn, industries have set their own Net Zero initiatives. Airlines are incorporating set percentages of sustainable aviation fuel in their aircraft, car rental services are switching towards hybrid and electric vehicles, and travel management companies implement carbon emissions calculators. 

As the deadline of global warming is fast approaching, the drive towards Net Zero must continue at pace. However, it seems that instead of effectively pushing communities towards sustainability goals, many across the industry are paralysed by the focus on reflective statistics and data, often concerning carbon offsetting.

We need to shift the narrative away from measurement after activity, and away from hitting data targets. Paralysis by data is currently threatening industries across the UK and their ability to reduce, move forward and reap the rewards of their sustainable actions. The overwhelming reliance on statistics makes targets seem near impossible to reach and holds individuals back from acting as a result.

By ensuring that sustainability is factored in from the start of an activity by individuals, companies and industries, without emphasising the importance of the measurement and figures afterwards, we can expect these targets to be more manageable.

The achievement of carbon reduction and other Net Zero initiatives can only happen if those within the industry are educated, to enable them to effectively make the right choices, as well as understand the wider sustainable data and statistics.

This is yet another reason why working with the government is vital in ensuring we reach our sustainability goals. Cross-industry and government collaboration allow companies to lay out sustainable and incentivised choices for their employees to follow, simultaneously taking the pressure off meeting statistical targets afterwards.   

Business travel is a power for good for all the world’s economies, promoting collaboration and shared understanding, but it is no secret that travel contributes greatly towards carbon emissions. This is why it is vital that there are clear and effective structures in place to make it as easy as possible to shift towards sustainability.

We must encourage business travel as it makes a strong comeback post-pandemic, whilst also protecting the future of the environment.  

thebta.org.uk

See our Sustainability Special for more on this topic