Navigating the ESG Landscape & Corporate Travel's Environmental Impact

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In 2024, as businesses strive to align with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals, the focus is increasingly turning towards the environmental impact of corporate travel. With climate change at the forefront of global challenges, companies are now re-evaluating their travel policies to ensure they contribute positively to their ESG objectives.

We all know that air travel, in particular, is a major source of carbon emissions, and whilst business travel only makes up approximately 12% of the total share of global airline passengers, it also accounts for as much as 75% of airline revenues. So the corporate travel sector is perhaps an easier target to bash, than trying to convince holidaymakers to take a train! 

Jakob Eaton

Sales Director, Traveltrust

Yet, contrary to predictions, the post-pandemic era of reliable teleconferencing has not ushered in an age of reduced corporate travel. Far from it. Now more than ever we value the importance of in-person human connections as vital to conducting business and forging strong relationships. So how do responsible businesses manage their travel requirements? 

Many firms turn to carbon offsetting – investing in environmental projects to compensate for their carbon footprint. However, the effectiveness and transparency of carbon offsets remain a subject of debate. The lack of standardisation and verifiability in offset projects complicates their adoption as a reliable tool for ESG compliance.

Rather than throw money at the problem for someone else to solve, visibility and awareness is the true route to responsibility. Understanding your company wide emissions output is the first step to being able to bring it down. This is why the top travel management companies now offer fully transparent reporting dashboards on the total impact of a business’ travel demands.

Being empowered to monitor all travel-related emissions accurately means travel managers can make business travel decisions that align with their ESG goals. Instead of booking then offsetting, determining efficiencies in travel planning shows that a company is taking responsibility for its own travel actions.

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