The global business travel industry needs to do more to help organisations to improve the sustainability of corporate trips including the reduction of carbon emissions.
New research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) into sustainability in the corporate travel sector found that barriers to making travel more sustainable included higher costs, limited data and a lack of access to transparent information.
The report, entitled The State of Sustainability in the Global Business Travel Sector, found that most organisations had already made sustainable travel a priority with a focus on cutting emissions and their environmental footprint.
The study, carried out by GBTA and global communications consultancy Grayling, said the key enablers to more sustainable business travel included a change in industry culture, easier tracking of data and harmonised standards.
Delphine Millot, senior vice president, sustainability at the GBTA, said: “There’s no longer the debate whether we should engage in sustainable actions for business travel, but how we turn ambition into action.
“Investing in sustainable solutions must be part of our gameplan today to make sure we can still connect people and travel for business tomorrow.
“This is only possible if our industry joins forces – across our full value chain and with external stakeholders including governments, to adopt ambitious targets, drive green investments and accelerate the uptake of clean technologies.”
Sustainability is already a priority for 89 per cent of all respondents but only 14 per cent said the corporate travel industry was “currently well advanced” on sustainability.
The majority of buyers (76 per cent) said they already had sustainability objectives in their travel policies or planned to add them.
Meanwhile, 80 per cent of the global business travel industry currently has a sustainability team and/or programme in place. Just over half are already measuring (55 per cent) and reporting (56 per cent) on the environmental impact of their business travel activities.
The report further found that the “main divergence” between buyers and suppliers was over the frequency of travel, with 73 per cent of buyers in support of encouraging or mandating fewer trips. This compares with 60 per cent of suppliers who did not encourage a blanket reduction in travel.
This trend is even more pronounced in Europe with buyers across the continent much more likely to encourage or mandate fewer business trips than other regions, and six times more likely than North Americans to support mandating multimodal travel options, such as comparing rail journeys with flights.
Suzanne Neufang, CEO of the GBTA, added: “The industry must ensure people can effectively connect in-person and conduct business globally while doing what is right for society and the planet.
“To do so, the industry needs information, tools, and partnerships to leverage current momentum and execute even more actionable outcomes.”