UK businesses that fail to offer and encourage low-carbon business travel risk losing out on top candidates, according to a survey of UK business travellers by Trainline Partner Solutions (TPS).
The survey has highlighted the importance of factoring sustainability into business travel policies, with over half (53%) of respondents stating they’d prioritise a firm that supported low-carbon travel over a competitor that did not.
Almost half (44%) also fear failing to offer lower carbon travel options will negatively impact their current company’s ability to hire and retain staff in a competitive talent market.
In addition, 91% now consider sustainability a priority when booking travel. Almost three quarters (72%) said their interest in finding lower carbon ways to travel has grown compared to pre-pandemic.
Despite this, just over half (51%) said their company doesn’t have a specific policy to support lower carbon modes of travel or support is limited to non-existent.
Additionally, 62% said they have taken short-haul flights or car journeys for work when they would have preferred lower carbon alternatives such as rail.
The most common obstacle in requesting lower carbon transport modes is the anticipation of a negative reaction from management, either due to cost (26%) or longer journey duration (24%).
To remedy the situation, over half (52%) believe employers should encourage lower carbon travel where possible. Many respondents were also supportive of companies allowing extra time to travel using greener methods (45%).
Seven out of 10 respondents (70%) are willing to travel by train even if it takes significantly longer than by plane, while 53% believe stronger support for more sustainable business travel would reflect well on the business.
Liz Emmott, Director of Global Distribution at Trainline Partner Solutions, said: “Our data demonstrates the desire for lower carbon travel is a cross-generational trend and business travellers of all ages identify sustainability as a priority – this is not just confined to Gen Z.
“Unfortunately, the data also shows many UK businesses still lag behind the curve in promoting and providing the low-carbon travel that their employees crave. As we enter a new era for ESG reporting, the time for action is now: through technology we can support businesses to implement simple and seamless greener travel programmes.”