A group of veteran travel and sustainability executives will launch a new organisation designed to bring together corporate travel managers, travel management companies and travel suppliers and offer tools and education around travel sustainability.
The US-based Sustainable Travel & Transportation Network (STTN) is expected to launch in mid-May as a networking platform and “clearing house” for environmental certifications. It is being designed as a “community-based marketplace”.
The organisation’s co-founders include Sara Richardson, previously the founder and president of non-profit business development association RAS International, alongside Patricia Charla, previous co-founder for environmental certification and consultancy Tech360.
Other STTN team members include sustainable travel consultancy TravelHorst founder Horst Bayer, who is a Germany-based former corporate travel manager with Siemens and Hitachi Data Systems, IG Management managing director Bernard Harrop and Lisa McKelvey, founder of sustainability software firm GreenFeet.
STTN will seek to assess sustainability certifications and authenticate sustainable travel partners, while weeding out “greenwashing”. It is also looking to fill a support gap identified for small and midsize organisations (SMEs) - on both the buyer and supplier sides - when it comes to navigating the complexities of sustainability initiatives.
“Travel managers in big companies have sustainability managers to track everything for them,” said Charla.
The network plans to serve as a supplemental tool for travel managers and buyers to help determine what sustainability policies should look like and how to best source sustainable partners.
“Buyers need tools to find out who these sustainable brands are. Most people don’t know if they are good, bad or indifferent,” she said, adding that STTN would serve as an education ground for buyers working towards sustainable purchasing.
Charla also emphasised the deeper governance issues faced by smaller travel suppliers.
“For the travel suppliers, sustainability also [includes] people,” she said. “What small travel provider is going to know how to write modern slavery policy, or that they even need to do it? STTN helps make the journey easier.”
Buyer Requirements and Support Services
The new organisation will require travel managers, TMC members and non-travel industry members to complete the STTN sustainability pledge and a self-assessment.
Certification for this member type will include completing the online training and certification courses in Sustainable Travel Management and Sustainable Travel Supply Chain Management.
Additional services include sector-specific training, live and virtual events, workshops and seminars. Sustainability officers and sustainability programme designers will have access to the same services but are only required to pledge, rather than self-assess.
Pricing and start dates
Annual membership prices range by organisation and commitment level, beginning at $500 for sustainability officers and programme designers, $750 for travel programme managers and travel management companies, $950 for travel service providers and $1,500 for non-travel industry participants.
Memberships and courses will be available around 17 May, according to STTN.