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5 tips for a sustainable business travel programme

Sustainability has become an integral part of business planning and corporate governance processes as businesses and individuals seek to do their part to reduce the impact of climate change. “As we continue our corporate travel needs, we must work together to enable positive change for a better tomorrow.” John Nicholls, CTM’s Global Head of ESG and Sustainability.

For Travel Programme Managers, exciting opportunities exist to contribute to the sustainability objectives of your organisation. Now is the time to review and refine your travel policy to meet the needs of a more sustainable future while maintaining the necessary travel activity to support your business purpose, continuity, and growth.

But how do you keep travellers safe, secure, and happy while staying within your operating budget and simultaneously supporting your company’s sustainability goals? Here are some tips to help build a more sustainable business travel programme.

Banner - "As we continue our corporate travel needs, we must work together to enable positive change for a better tomorrow"

1. Consider the route

Non-stop (direct) flights tend to be better for the environment. They are shorter and use fewer resources, primarily due to fewer takeoffs and landings where carbon emissions are the greatest impact. In addition to the environmental benefits, direct flights are less likely to cause traveller fatigue, ensuring your team performs at the top of their game during every business trip.

While not every route can be direct, it’s worth identifying which destinations are the best for direct flights based on volume, cost, and frequency. Then, work with your travel management company (TMC) and airline partners to negotiate the best corporate deals on these services for a positive impact on employee wellbeing, your bottom line and a reduced impact on the environment.

2. Greener on the ground

What requirements do you have within your travel policy regarding local transportation? Do most travellers rent cars or hail a taxi or book an uber when they land at the airport? Do you have policies around how many people must ride together to attend a meeting?  Do your preferred rental car providers offer a good selection of electronic or hybrid vehicles or do you select an electronic or hybrid taxi/uber at rates that fall into the parameters of your travel policy? These are just some of the questions you should ask when developing an environmentally sustainable ground transportation policy.

3. Location, location, location

Public transit options like local and regional rail, subway systems, and express bus routes can also be great options for sustainable business travel.  These services tend to have regular routes and timetables, so it’s worth considering your preferred hotel partners’ locations and meeting venues to align with these sustainable ground transport solutions.

To improve public transport adoption, use your travel programme’s reporting tool to identify the most frequently booked hotels in your most visited destinations. Are those properties located along major public transit routes? Are they within walking distance of your offices or the locations of your top clients? Working with your TMC and hotel partners to make slight alterations to your preferred properties could significantly influence your company’s sustainability outcomes.

Banner - "It's worth considering your preferred hotel partners' locations and meeting venues to align with sustainable ground transport solutions"

4. Select green hotels

Sustainability in hotels was once limited to reusing your bath towel. These days, more and more hotel companies embrace environmental and social sustainability through innovative solutions such as green roof technology, automatic shut-off on lights and air-conditioners, using local and on-site food sources, implementing water conservation programmes, and much more. Take a look at your preferred hotels and work with your TMC to make this a priority when selecting and negotiating with your preferred providers. Finally, get travellers on board by educating them on the environmentally conscious reasons they should stay at these hotels.

Corporate Travel Management’s (CTM’s) Lightning online booking tool highlights the efficiency rating of better green choices for sustainable business travel.

5. Travel that supports your business and others

We all understand the positive impact of business travel on our performance and growth. By choosing to offset your travel programme’s carbon footprint, you can positively contribute to a range of sustainability initiatives that support people, communities, and economies around the world. Within your travel programme, choose to offset carbon emissions created by air, hotel, car rental, and rail travel through environmental sustainability initiatives such as rainforest conservation, sustainable livelihood programmes, wildlife protection, and renewable energy.

Banner - "By choosing to offset your travel programme's carbon footprint, you can support people, communities, and economies around the world"

CTM’s Climate+ programme provides detailed carbon reporting tools and localised carbon offset programmes to help your business achieve its carbon neutrality goals.



Time to build a more sustainable business travel programme?

Contact our team today to discuss your needs.