April 24, 2024

Sustainability strategies

Two companies share their different approaches to meeting sustainability targets for business travel

Ingka Group

In 2018, Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer, set a target to halve greenhouse gas emissions of its business travel, co-worker commute and customer delivery by 2030, using 2016 as the baseline. With sustainability, wellbeing and cost control firmly embedded in its values, Ingka Group’s policy restricts all air travel to economy class only, for its entire workforce, while for car rental it actively encourages the use of EV or hybrid vehicles when available. Offsetting is not part of the strategy.

“We don’t believe in offsetting. We believe in genuine reduction,” says Sue Jones, Global Meetings and Travel Manager.

With more than 90% of trips booked on its online booking tool, the company “nudges” its co-workers to make sustainable choices at the point of booking. “Rather than us having to mandate or push people into making sustainable decisions, they are already thinking about the carbon impact and come to us with ideas,” says Jones.

In the next phase, Ingka is working with its TMC and data specialists to create dashboards for each individual traveller, showing the sustainable, wellbeing and cost impact of their choices on a trip-by-trip basis.

Designed to be visually impactful, comparisons will be used to show the consequences of decisions.

Dashboards will be delivered to travellers via email and will also be shared with line managers, so comparisons can be made between different parts of the business.

Insights are based on Defra methodology but the travel team is monitoring developments in that space.

“We’re working with the best that’s currently available. We need to have consistency,” says Jones.

“There is already a huge appetite for this kind of information and insight and we’re confident we will see our co-workers making better decisions as a result,” says Jones.

“But if we feel change isn’t moving fast enough, we are also looking at other measures further down the line, such as setting carbon caps. We believe caps are more effective than allocating carbon budgets, as with budgets there is often a mentality that you need to spend that budget.”

NES Fircroft

NES Fircroft is a recruitment specialist for the oil and gas, power and renewables, infrastructure, life sciences, mining, automotive and chemicals sectors. It has offices worldwide and a team of 1,700.

Since 2021 it has committed to offsetting its entire staff travel, working closely with its global TMC, ATPI.

In the first year the management team chose two projects – the Amayo Wind power project in southwest Nicaragua, and Breathing Space, a voluntary programme providing more energy efficient cooking stoves to households in rural India.

In 2022, it decided to support other projects and let its staff take a vote. The workforce chose a tree-planting project in the Guizhou Province of China, protecting the globallyendangered Francois’ Leaf Monkey, and a reforestation project in Ghana.

“Being a company that’s looking to grow in the renewables space, we wanted to invest in projects that are commercially savvy but which also allow us to tell a story,” says Jamie Finnie, NES Fircroft Head of Travel.

Alongside offsetting, the company has been working to reduce its business travel carbon footprint. It does not mandate choices but has been gently educating its sales teams, encouraging employees to question whether they need to travel to client meetings in volume or if some can go in person while others connect virtually.

“We also ask them to consider if they need to visit the same place weekly or can reduce it to twice a month,” says Finnie.

Reports are sent to regional MDs to show travel spend and ROI, with hints about how to travel more sustainably. Tips are also shared with staff on the company’s Intranet.