How Business Travel Managers Turn Sustainability Talk into Action

12th Feb 2020
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Business travel is worth $1.6 trillion and produces 1 in 7 jobs throughout the world[1] and the world which we now know is under huge pressure from climate change. We don’t yet know the full impact of climate change, but what has become clear is that not all corporate travel programmes do not tangibly reflect the urgency or desire for change.

It’s the perfect time to work with a TMC that can weave sustainability into your travel programmes and even flag up when unnecessary trips are being made.  It’s a win-win for the planet and your business.

The World is Ready for Change – Is Your Business?

The disparity between what individual business travellers want (a greener way of travelling) and what travel managers are currently offering (unsustainable travel practices) is demonstrated by a recent survey conducted by SAP Concur and Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

While businesses are already taking some action (for example encouraging public transport, suggesting back-to-back trips, flying direct, cutting down on luggage and investing in video conferencing technology), the survey shows that only 33% of European travel managers currently mandate or encourage travellers to book with suppliers with sustainable practices.

We need to do better. We need to work together.

Questions Are Being Asked

Just as 16-year old Greta Thunberg is calling world leaders out on inaction, travellers themselves want to see more being done. The research reveals the majority of travel managers have received requests from travellers (57%) and senior leadership (57%) to implement more sustainable travel practices in the last year.

This is where the TMC steps in. Already, 79% travel managers receive services to measure and track sustainability from their TMC, while about 64% receive the same from their travel suppliers, and only 40% get support from their online booking tool or engine.

By partnering with the right experts, the future doesn’t have to be so bleak.

The Future is Sustainable Business Travel

Intentions are good.  62% of travel managers are planning to mandate or encourage travellers to book with suppliers using sustainable practices in the next one to two years, double the figure of those doing it currently.

Changes that business travel managers plan to incorporate into their programmes over the next two years, with the support of TMCs, include displaying carbon emissions in search (72%), sourcing suppliers with sustainable practices (74%) and mandating travellers to make sustainable choices (73%).

SAP Concur is mindful of these evolving expectations and is turning that into real change. For instance, within SAP Concur’s TripIt mobile app, a feature allows you to track carbon emissions for each flight and suggests ways to offset the environmental impact, such as by planting a tree.

Find Out More at The Business Travel Show

SAP Concur will be at The Business Travel show at Olympia in London on 26th and 27th February 2020,  where our two speakers will address some of these issues. Matt Abbott will be talking about how traveller satisfaction can help drive adoption of innovative travel platforms such as SAP Concur. Building on recent SAP Concur research, Eric Webb will explore how travel managers address sustainability in their programmes.

We hope to see you there!

[1] GBTA - An online survey was conducted of corporate travel buyers in Europe.  The survey fielded between October 17 and October 22, 2019.