Sustainability loses out to cost cutting in business travel

20 October 2011

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20 October 2011 | Angeline Albert

Cost cutting outranks sustainability as a reason why businesses are cutting business travel.

Corporate travel buyers believe their organisations are not active enough in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and made their views known in an annual survey of 392 individuals (of which 61 per cent were buyers and the rest were travellers).

This year, 42 per cent said their company suggested they reduce the number of business trips to save money. Only 4 per cent said that this decision was made in support of a sustainability policy. In 2010, 19 per cent said CSR-related issues contributed to a decision to reduce business trips.

The ACTE/KDS Study 2011 by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and business travel solutions provider KDS, showed 45 per cent believe their company should be more active in the CSR field. A further 17 per cent said few concrete actions are undertaken or their company is not making any effort at all towards sustainability.

A third (35 per cent) said their organisation’s online reservation tool takes the company’s sustainability policy into account – whether this be via a carbon emissions calculator, by proposing a low carbon-emission option or suggesting travel avoidance actions such as video conferences. Only 32 per cent said their travel department is required to submit reports to management on carbon emissions. 

The report said: Awareness and adoption of CSR is increasing, but there are still significant improvements to be made in terms of implementation and involvement. Three years on, the impact of the financial crisis is still a key driver for travel reduction as a means of controlling costs.”

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