Sustainability stats that matter to you
Over the past couple of years, we’ve had a bit of time to reflect on a slowly-returning-to-normal world. We’re not there yet, but we're getting there.
This year feels different, doesn’t it? Leave it to a global pandemic to curb travel and stop people from driving to work to force a decline on carbon emissions.
Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Global Emissions
In 2020, both the US and EU saw declining carbon emissions, according to The Conversation. The US saw 12%, the EU at 11% and India saw a drop of 9%. Even though global emissions were already on the decline prior to COVID, they are now steadily rising again as lockdowns end and the world reopens. So, while we haven’t seen major permanent drops, it just goes to show, human impact matters.
Why Your Impact Matters
When it comes to sustainability and your business travel, measuring your impact is the greatest tool you have available. After all, that is how you’ll really be able to understand where you can make changes. When you understand your company’s impact and take steps to making your business travel more sustainable, people notice. Here’s just a couple of reasons to think about sustainability in your business travel:
- Finding and keeping your team - Around 40% of millennials would take a pay cut to work at a more sustainable company according to a survey taken in 2019.
- It’s what people want - In a survey done by NielsenIQ, 66% of those asked globally would pay more for sustainable product; 50% of them are influenced by key sustainability factors. Of millennials, 90% are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly or sustainable products (Nielsen survey).
- Progressive = positive - As travellers' needs adjust, travel policies need to consider adjusting with them. With a focus on wellbeing, travellers perhaps want more time in destination to really make it count. Building sustainability practices into your policies solidifies your commitment to doing good, for the environment, and your people.
Of course, sustainability will mean different things across different industries. Some industries might require frequent international airline travel, while a non-profit organisation may have more options for regional travel accessible by rail.
It was noted in the GBTA State of Sustainability 2022 Report that 96% of external stakeholders (policy makers, NGOs, and think tanks) think the way forward is through mandating and prioritising travel routes with the lowest CO2 footprint, while 72% believe impact is made through carbon offsetting. We encourage you to find your way forward, in whatever ways you can. The important thing is that all businesses know how to measure their impact and are prepared to take the necessary steps to lessen it.
UN Sustainable Development Goals and You
Not all sustainability goals are travel related. There a so many ways to include your team in making the world as a whole, more sustainable. In 2015, all United Nations Member States pledged to take actions across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and according to the GBTA State of Sustainability 2022 Report, three of those goals are where business travel and the travel industry can have the greatest impact. Those include Goal 13 – climate action, Goal 12 – responsible consumption and production, and Goal 7 – affordable and clean energy.
Where do those goals come in for you and your company? Which are you most aligned with in your existing sustainability policies, and which could use a bit more work? Seeing a list of the 17 goals is a lot to take in, but if you break it down further into 3 categories, you can easily pinpoint the areas you’d like to focus:
- Environmental – Clean water and sanitation; Affordable and clean energy; Responsible consumption and production; Climate action; Life below water; Life on land.
- Social – No poverty; Zero hunger; Good health and well-being; Quality education; Gender equality; Decent work and economic growth.
- Governance – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure; Reduced inequalities; Sustainable cities and communities; Peace, justice, and strong institutions; Partnerships for the goals.
Seems like a tall order, right? Sure, but it’s one that requires action and commitment from people across all sectors – world leaders, industry leaders, the private sector, and individuals as a whole. We believe we can get there, together.
We’re with you for the ride
We know this is a journey and we want to be with you on that journey. We don’t have all of the answers, but we’ve made it our mission to think big about sustainability and help each of our clients understand what they can do to make each trip count. Our team has some energised sustainability champions and a global Chief Sustainability Officer that are paving the way and helping customers map out their own sustainability commitments. To better understand what sustainability means to our clients we conducted a survey with existing and prospective clients in June/July 2021 and found:
- 85% believe sustainability is important to their organisation, but only 21% have a formal business travel sustainability programme
- 68% have targets on reducing CO2 emissions
- 28% of customers are willing to pay more for sustainable business travel
We’re in the midst of updating our reporting systems to make it easier for you to track and pull reports on your travellers’ carbon emissions, view recommended “cleaner” options for transportation and accommodation, and more.
A sustainable travel programme is smart thinking. Let’s get there together.
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