Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Age of video conferencing dawning
Companies need to become smarter in how they decide which business travel trips to take and which to call off, Caroline Allen said.
Ms Allen, regional director for northern and east central Europe and Russia for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), said companies needed to look at the nature of the trip both in terms of business and the environment.
"Companies are becoming more serious about looking at the nature of a trip, whether it is a good for the business and good for the environment.
"It is a question of buying more smartly," she told a forum organised by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) on 'Is CSR still a priority in times of economic crisis?'
"People do hundreds of thousands of deals a year that demand a meeting. But we are also seeing the dawning of the video conferencing age.
"You can have a video conference where it feels like you are in a meeting room but there can still be technical hitches.
"But companies need to decide what is best for them. It is about making responsible decisions," Ms Allen said.
Jonathan Shopley, executive director of The CarbonNeutral Company, said that in a recession, companies did cut down on travel.
But he added: "There is underlying amount of business travel that will never be replaced."
The panellists agreed that corporate social responsibility still remained important during a slowdown.
Ms Allen said: "It might slip down the priorities a little. But we can't step back or regress on the practices we have adopted. It might be that the programme might get a bit slower."
Frauke Spottka, co-ordinator of the VCD, the Transport Club Germany, said while the slowdown would end soon, the environmental crisis would stay with us. "So we have to stick to our strategies," she said.
David Tibbles, CWT's global product director, online booking and the environment, said there was no sign of a "tail off" on green issues from his customers.
"There has even been an increase from the APAC region. There is still a lot of interest and still a lot of unanswered questions.
"The customers still want the data and I have not heard of one CSR team being disbanded."
But Mr Tibbles warned that with companies looking at their finances and possible redundancies, "I feel it will be a concern in the near future."
Mr Shopley said there was a difference between a company's duty of care to its employees and the philanthropy of donating money to local communities.
In a downturn, he said the first would remain in place but the latter might be affected.
www.carlsonwagonlit.com www.acte.org www.carbonneutral.com www.vcd.org