ITM Releases Guide on Responsible Travel
The Institute of Travel Management (ITM) has released an insightful guide aimed at empowering its buyer members to formulate policies that promote environmentally responsible corporate travel.
This comprehensive document, titled 'Building Responsible Travel Programmes,' is a response to the increasingly pressing need for companies to align with carbon reduction objectives.
Kerry Douglas, the Head of Programme at ITM, underscored the significance of this initiative, stating, "Though business travel's contribution to global emissions is relatively modest, it often constitutes a substantial portion of a company's CO2 footprint. Consequently, there's a rising demand for responsible travel policies that can curtail emissions while facilitating purposeful corporate travel. This guide serves as a roadmap for travel managers, enabling them to future-proof their travel programmes and actively contribute to their companies' carbon reduction targets."
The paper emerged from ITM's Sustainability Taskforce, established earlier in the year in response to mounting concerns among ITM's buyer members about integrating sustainable practices into their programmes and shaping traveller behaviour. It provides practical guidance for buyers at all stages of their sustainability journey, irrespective of their industry. It recommends initial steps for getting started, including:
Understanding your company's carbon reduction targets.
Identifying allies and fostering collaboration.
Procuring accurate and relevant data.
Periodically reviewing targets and key performance indicators (KPIs).
A pivotal component of the guide is a proposed matrix that outlines actions on a spectrum from simple to complex, varying in their potential impact. At the top of this matrix, four key actions stand out as particularly influential:
Securing senior leadership engagement and support: Recognising that each organisation differs in terms of industry, culture, travel programme characteristics, and commitments to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, this step is paramount.
Updating and revising travel policies: Driving change through supplier partnerships, educational efforts, and modal shifts.
Demand management: Collaborating with business leaders to explore strategies for managing demand and considering alternative meeting formats and transportation options.
Investing in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and carbon removal: Acknowledging that completely discontinuing business travel isn't feasible due to its broader economic and societal benefits, industry stakeholders should focus on supporting decarbonisation efforts. This includes signalling demand for SAF and exploring actions to remove carbon emissions, in addition to any offsetting investments, to achieve net-zero commitments. These actions require active engagement and leadership direction.
This matrix complements the ongoing work of the GBTA Foundation's Sustainability Initiative and Sustainability Toolkit. The guide also includes several appendices featuring case studies and detailed explanations of the steps buyers can take to prepare for the future, along with links to additional GBTA resources.
Kerry Douglas emphasised, "By clearly defining the vision of a responsible travel programme and gaining buy-in from all stakeholders, Travel Managers have a unique opportunity to educate and lead their organisations in pursuit of sustainability objectives. ITM hopes that this guide and its appendices offer actionable insights and practical support to our buyer community, allowing them to engage in informed discussions. It's designed to cater to various needs, providing a range of background information and detail."
To view and compare company ESG Ratings and Sustainability Reports, visit our Company ESG Profiles page.