Travel is a core part of doing business. Face to face meetings are the best way of building long term relationships with clients, business partners and seeing new business opportunities. It is about being there in person.
Business travel though has a cost to the wider society and contributes to a company’s carbon footprint. We at Beyond Business Travel understand that it is a consideration now more than ever that companies need to weigh up when making travel choices. Businesses need to change their practices and build sustainability into their travel planning.
Beyond Business Travel are leading the way by creating an environment to allow their clients to make smarter travel decisions and this includes more environmentally conscious travel choices.
Today, we’re going to look at everything you need to know about delivering sustainable business travel.
What is Sustainable Business Travel?
At its core, sustainable business travel is all about minimising the environmental impact of your corporate trips. This includes both minimising carbon emission and eliminating unnecessary waste.
Building sustainability into your business travel involves following three core principles:
- Smarter travel choices – Using the most environmentally friendly modes of transport available or environmentally focused suppliers. It is also about having data calculating the impact of your travel before you make that choice.
- Monitoring and reducing – Having data which measures your businesses Co2 impact, and taking steps to have targets and reduce
- Offsetting – Taking steps to counteract any carbon emissions you incur during business travel.
The goal here is to minimise your environmental impact where you can, and counteract it where you can’t.
How to Develop a Strategy for Delivering Sustainable Business Travel
Our business travel team have worked with clients on developing sustainable business travel programmes. As with any other initiative, it’s crucial to have a proper strategy in place for delivering sustainable business travel. In essence, this means comparing where you are today with where you would like to be and figuring out the detailed steps you’ll take to bridge this gap.
In our experience here are the five steps to creating an effective sustainable business travel strategy.
1. Align your travel policy to your overall company sustainability objectives
2. Collect your Co2 stats
You need a clear picture of the environmental impact of your current business travel programme. Having a clear overview of your entire organisation’s business travel and its impact is critical for setting targets and measuring the effectiveness of your sustainable travel programme.
Beyond Business Travel provide our clients with Co2 reports which calculates their company’s carbon footprint. These reports can be downloaded and fed into company wide sustainability dashboards or scorecards.
There are numerous realtime data reports available:
- By trip, by sector, by traveller
- By service type (air/hotel)
- By Hotel, by city
3. Set Goals and Objectives for Your Strategy
Next, it’s time to set detailed goals and objectives for what you’d like to achieve. Naturally, your overarching goal is to reduce your environmental impact. If you actually want to achieve this though, you’ll need more detailed and granular plans. Otherwise, they’re unlikely to be effective.
Say for example that you’ve decided the biggest environmental impact in your business travel planning comes from over-reliance on car hire. In order to set an effective goal for combating this, you might seek to introduce the option that clients are only permitted to use electric cars in certain territories.
Or, another goal maybe to reduce carbon emissions by 5% within the first year by using airline suppliers that use more fuel efficient aircrafts.
4. Offsetting your impact
There is an acceptance that business travel like other parts of client’s businesses will incur Co2 emissions and impact the environment. Working with Beyond Business Travel we can help you offset this impact.
Working with us and our sustainability partners you can start to offset your journeys immediately from as little as £1 journey.
We help our clients choose their offset choice, we transfer the trip impact data snd you are on your way to offsetting your Co2 emissions.
5. Gain Business Buy in
Communication to your travellers is key on explaining what actions you are taking to achieve your sustainable travel programme and why. But business travel is only one part of your company sustainability strategy, it spans operations, procurement, HR, IT and more. This drive to achieve change will be coming throughout the whole business from the top of the organisation.
Lastly, we find that monitoring and feedback, with hard data, is another way to encourage people to change.
Start Delivering Sustainable Business Travel Today
Sustainable business travel offers a number of benefits. These include reduced costs, increased revenues and improving your corporate image. Of course, these are all secondary to doing your part to protect the planet.
With all elements of creating a sustainability strategy, the key is having the right data available. From assessing your current situation, to monitoring your success, it’s crucial to have a clear picture of your current environmental impact.
Beyond Business travel have the experience and technology to help you achieve this in your travel programme, get in touch if you have any questions.