Bosses sluggish on green travel

11 February 2010

11 February 2010 | Isabel Palmer

Top executives are “dragging their feet” on environmentally friendly travel procurement, a survey of business travellers and purchasers has found.

More than 300 staff worldwide were polled on their attitude to sustainable travel by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and travel management firm KDS.

Although it found organisations are sticking by their commitment to greener travel despite the recession, nearly half said top managers set a bad example, with many choosing short domestic flights instead of long train journeys or videoconferencing. Some of the worst offenders were in France and the US, while the UK had the most “virtuous” bosses.

Some respondents said company morale had been dented by the decision of big bosses to opt for first or business class travel while employees took greener, less luxurious travel options.

Others argued they were unable to make sustainable choices because they lacked information on green travel options and did not fully grasp their organisation’s travel policy. A total of 21 per cent said it was personal choice which had resulted in a reduction in travel, not company policy. 

KDS chief executive Yves Weisselberger called for better internal communication between employees and top bosses.

“There is still much more to be done through employee communications, and here – as in their individual travel choices – top managers must take the lead.”

ACTE president Richard Crum said: “It is important to recognise that truly sustainable businesses balance the demands of shareholders with respect for the environment and the people and communities they impact every day.”

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