Taking a sustainable strategy on our business travels – from vehicle sharing via glass and plate use to virtual meetings, are we on the right path?
The importance of sustainability in society, and especially in business travel, is growing and an increasing number of companies are paying attention to environmental and social criteria when booking business travel. While that number is creeping up, levels among employees is already much higher with sustainability regarded as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ within a travel perspective. In fact, the global sustainable tourism market is predicted to grow by around a tenth, or USD340 billion, within the next four years.
A recent survey from travel management companies in the German Travel Association (DRV) found more than four in five (82%) respondents believed sustainable criteria important when booking business trips. Digitisation will certainly have an increasing impact on business travel as sustainability becomes a more central theme and there are already many businesses that are replacing travel with virtual meetings – 49% of business travellers say that virtual meetings are increasingly replacing company trips in their companies to curb emissions, according to the DRV survey.
We obviously won’t see an end to business travel as personal meetings with business partners are still very important for business relations, but we will become increasingly thoughtful when we do travel. That could simply be foregoing printing documents for digital copies, connecting multiple appointments per trip, using public transport: there are many areas that sustainable choices can be made.
For travel buyers there will be an increasing pressure on selecting lodging, restaurants and travel service providers that have been recognised for their commitment to sustainability.