Business travel and sustainability must coexist in a new era of mobility


Sustainable travel is nothing new – holiday companies like Responsible Travel or Exodus have been putting people, space and the planet at the center of their offer for many years. But what about those of us who want to be able to follow the same environmental, social and governance (ESG) values ​​when we travel for work?

The good news is that if there is one lesson we have all learned from a pandemic, it is that we can all be kinder to the planet and respect the people around us – and this is especially important as Earth Day comes on April 22nd.

For example Conscious Travel FoundationThe non-profit network, which aims to promote responsible travel through mentoring programs, was born out of a pandemic when businesses realized that it was possible and more should be done to make travel more sustainable.

Big brands like Hilton Hotels and IHG also have increased their focus about improving their greenery. Hilton Hotels has committed to reducing carbon intensity by 61% and water consumption by 50% by 2030 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, while IHG has committed to removing 200 million mini disposable toiletries in its hotels.

Discussions at last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) highlighted some harsh facts, which means that society is now making greater efforts to adopt greener living and working habits, which the corporate travel sector cannot ignore.

So, here are two key areas that will stimulate conversations in the area of ​​trade routes and help solve the climate crisis: climate-resilient sites and setting greener examples.

Finding free climate change sites

Climate-resistant sites are areas that have the ability to anticipate, prepare for and respond to events, trends or disturbances that are dangerous to the environment. These are fast becoming a hot trend in the world of corporate travel for all the right reasons. Regions such as Scandinavia and North America, which offer good water and food security, are rich in biodiversity and, most importantly, strictly regulate environmental degradation, thus providing companies with a solid foundation on which to build their portfolios.

Instead of implementing systems that respond to climate change, business travelers can focus on ways to preserve and transform local areas that resist climate change.

Vivi Cahyadi Himmel

This is partly due to fewer complications in integrating stricter sustainability protocols, as these regions are more resilient, making it easier for businesses to reconcile their needs with environmental aspects. Not only are these regions already fertile shopping centers, but they are also strategically located for corporate travelers due to their ability to withstand rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather conditions.

Prioritizing mitigation over adaptation is also the preferred route for business travel. Instead of implementing systems that react Climate change, business travelers can focus on ways to preserve and transform local areas that to resist Climate change, as well as reducing emissions and building the resilience of local communities.

Investing in climate-resilient sites is therefore one of the solutions that corporate reservation platforms can measure. In addition, there is an added desire to make cities and communities more sustainable than set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Moving your overall business strategy beyond these goals is important because it encourages businesses to be more environmentally progressive.

Ecological examples with ESG

The seamless integration of the ESGs into their overall business strategies gives corporations the opportunity to influence wider changes in the tourism sector and helps them build on existing dynamics of environmental initiatives such as the COP26 summit. As outlined at the summit, setting stricter ESG targets will help accelerate towards securing global net zero by the middle of the century.

As employee demand changes and focuses more on sustainability, corporate reservation platforms are responsible for supporting this transition. Transparency is essential if you want to align your booking processes with general sustainability values.

Paul Proctor, IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Vice President of Europe, reiterates this call, saying that “greater transparency of sustainability in the booking phase is mutually beneficial for corporate clients and hotels.” Paloma Zapata, CEO of Barcelona-based Sustainable Travel International, also mentions “climate-smart thinking ahead” used by some companies, creating awareness and actively stimulating employees to make smarter decisions and take responsibility for their footprint. And with 89% of hospitality operators investing in technology as early as 2021, it is clear that there is a desire for change.

Technology is therefore a key component in stabilizing the business-to-business dispute: by choosing platforms that offer cloud-based sustainability filtering tools, businesses can then have better resource characteristics that reflect their own environmental goals. For example, modular filters that emphasize whether properties offer green assets, such as recycling programs or environmental certification, mean that customers can book accommodation that is more environmentally friendly and supports actions such as carbon offsets.

These latest creations in the corporate booking cycle aim to reverse the obsolete legacies associated with traditional booking processes and create a new frontier for combining customer sustainability values ​​with technology-based features to meet ESG’s internal standards. Giving users the opportunity to choose more sustainable lifestyles ensures that employees can gain personalized experience, while prioritizing methods that work to secure the future of the tourism industry and the planet.

And because these tools are easy to access and adopt, they are a great equalizer and activator for small operators, who don’t necessarily have the budget to create a sustainable plan.

Traveling will not stop in the end. In fact, business travel is expected to grow to $ 1.7 trillion this year, another good reason for corporate booking platforms to support the changing values ​​of employees and companies. It is time for us all to consider how to become smarter, safer and more sustainable – combining technological solutions with environmental ethics can only be the first step.

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