BCD Survey: Business Travel and Sustainability
BCD Travel recently conducted a comprehensive survey, engaging with over 100 travel buyers and nearly 1,800 business travellers, to assess the significance of environmental sustainability within the realm of business travel.
Astonishingly, while a resounding 82% of companies have firmly established sustainability objectives, merely 45% have extended these ambitions to encompass sustainable business travel practices.
Moreover, an alarming statistic emerges, revealing that a mere 20% of business travellers are cognisant of their organisation's sustainable travel targets.
Three core goals stand out among the top sustainability priorities listed by travel buyers: coordinating with overarching corporate sustainability goals, meticulously monitoring and reporting on travel sustainability, and reducing the environmental impact of business travel.
A staggering majority, over two-thirds, regard these priorities as exceptionally vital. Conversely, initiatives such as carbon emissions offsetting and catering to traveller preferences emerge as less pressing.
Benefits and Challenges
According to travel buyers, embracing a sustainable travel programme has a variety of advantages. These include a reduced environmental footprint (acknowledged by 88% of respondents), an enhanced corporate reputation (cited by 65%), and the ability to attract and retain top talent (recognised by 46%).
However, the spectre of additional costs associated with sustainable travel options looms large, with more than half of respondents identifying this as their primary hurdle.
Other challenges encompass educating travellers, standardising measurement methodologies and definitions, and equipping stakeholders with appropriate tools—such as online booking platforms that support carbon budget tracking.
A mere one-third of travel buyers stipulate that suppliers must possess sustainability goals and commitments. A quarter of buyers seek out suppliers who share similar sustainability values and hold environmental certifications, such as EcoVadis.
Meanwhile, one-sixth of respondents demand access to tools like carbon emissions calculators and science-based sustainability metrics. Despite this, most buyers do not mandate sustainability criteria, though around 50% view them as "nice to have."
Sustainable Travel Options
While 50% of companies encourage sustainable travel in principle, only one-third actively promote such options during the booking process. Key strategies include diminishing travel volumes and substituting air travel with train journeys.
Additionally, advocating for direct flights over layovers, consolidating multiple trips into one, and restricting the number of employees travelling together are common practices. Travellers also often mention sharing ground transportation and opting for economy class over business class as prevalent recommendations from their organisations.
During their journeys, travellers exhibit a notable penchant for sustainable practices in the realm of hotel stays. An impressive 70% eschew daily towel changes, and 60% forego daily housekeeping services. Recycling, transitioning to paperless travel documents, supporting local vendors, and choosing walking over alternative transportation options also rank highly among sustainable traveller practices. Furthermore, a significant 40% prefer travelling with just carry-on luggage and carrying reusable water bottles.
However, it's worth noting that while more than half of travellers express a willingness to embark on fewer but lengthier business trips or explore novel, eco-conscious modes of travel, only 30% are prepared to incur additional expenses to offset carbon emissions or procure sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Regional nuances surface in the sustainable practices of both travellers and travel buyers. In the EMEA region, there's a pronounced focus on reducing travel volumes and opting for train travel over air.
Conversely, North American companies are more inclined toward promoting economy-class air travel instead of business class and advocating for shared ground transportation. Meanwhile, in APAC, the spotlight is on endorsing direct flights and eco-friendly lodging options.
BCD's Commitment to Sustainability
Mike Janssen, BCD's global chief operating officer and chief commercial officer, underscores the organisation's steadfast commitment to sustainability, deeply ingrained in their vision, mission, and values.
BCD is dedicated to supporting clients by offering products and services that facilitate the realisation of their sustainable travel objectives. Their proprietary travel platforms provide invaluable insights to assist clients and travellers alike in minimising their environmental footprint.
Furthermore, through the BCD marketplace, travel buyers gain access to innovative third-party sustainability solutions or the option to collaborate with Advito, BCD's consulting arm, in setting and measuring sustainability goals.
To view and compare company ESG Ratings and Sustainability Reports, visit our Company ESG Profiles page.
Source: BCD Travel