“Going green” used to be a way for travel providers to differentiate themselves in a competitive market, however, for today’s environmentally astute corporate travellers, it’s green or nothing. Especially considering the monumental carbon footprint of traditional business travel.

Sustainable practices have become a must-have, not a nice-to-have, for all kinds of travel companies and providers. Whether it be an airline ensuring compliance with environmental management standards, or a hotel chain ensuring their waste and energy consumption is kept at a bare minimum, the end-to-end travel experience is being put under the microscope to avoid any environmental faux pas. 

Below we examine the current state of eco-friendly corporate travel, and outline how travel managers can meet the evolving demands of their green travellers.


Is Corporate Travel Bad for the Environment?

In their ‘Corporate Responsibility Toolkit’, the Global Business Travel Association outlines the diverse impacts of corporate travel on the environment:

“All means of travel and transport - from company car fleets, rail travel to aviation, have an impact on the environment, not only through greenhouse gas emissions but also through noise, waste and land occupancy,” the report reads. 

Simply put, it’s easy to see how the end-to-end travel experience is detrimental to the environment at almost every stage.

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An Eco-Friendly Aviation Industry? 

The impact of international aviation on the environment has been a major focus of the travel industry for years. The Air Transport Action Group supports the development and implementation of sustainable biofuels, and sets global targets on emissions reductions for the aviation industry.

Australian carrier, Qantas, has also been vocal on the development of sustainable biofuels, conducting their first commercial flight using the technology back in 2012.

However, the aviation industry has a long way to go before they can mitigate their environmental impact to satisfy all passengers.


Environmentally Friendly Hotels

A 2013 survey by Global Business Traveler found that 47% of corporate travellers would prioritise environmentally-friendly hotels over less-green alternatives while away on business. However, later in 2013, Skift reported on a study by Cornell University’s Centre for Hospitality Research, which revealed that green certification had no impact on revenue. Skift thus concluded that “customers don’t care about green hotels one way or another.”

Nevertheless, the demand for eco-friendly accommodation options is likely to increase as millennial travellers assume the majority of the business travel market.


Eco-Friendly Business Travel and Travel Managers

The best travel managers recognise that what hurts the environment can also hurt the budget. For example, a travel team of four who travel in four individual taxis to their hotels of choice, then four individual taxis to a meeting the following day is unnecessary in both expense and emissions.

As such, travel managers should pay close mind to how they can encourage environmentally-conscious bookings. Those who do can expect positive effects on both the expense budget, and the satisfaction and morale of individual travellers. 

For more information on the trends that are redefining business travel, download your free eGuide, '5 Corporate Travel Trends to Watch in 2017' below:

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