Sustainability: Eco-friendly travel
[ ECO-FRIENDLY TRAVEL ]
Nearly seven years after abolishing the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the government launched policy paper A Green Future at the start of 2018 aimed at recovering lost ground on environmental protection.
While the 25-year plan to improve the environment states that “the scale of human impact on the planet has never been greater than it is now”, it looks more towards strategies rather than behaviours.
Improving energy efficiency or accelerating clean technologies is great but as the plan says, “it is in everyone’s interest to be part of the solution”. There is a need for a bottom up boost to deliver a greener future: evidence suggests
that business travellers want to be more environmentally conscious but they also want help.
The 2018 global sustainable travel report from Booking.com showed that over half of surveyed business travellers want to go green but don’t know where to start.
The report also suggests that two-thirds of travellers intend to stay in eco-friendly accommodation over the next year and roughly the same proportion consider that their companies should do more to promote such options.
So, are companies and TMCS caught up in a tussle between the bottom line and driving responsible practice? If there is an appetite for business travellers to travel sustainably, why is the sector not responding forcefully?
It was notable that February’s Business Travel Show in London contained very little on sustainability. Yes, there were high level ambitions tucked away in strategies but seemingly only one company – Green Tomato Cars – was overtly driven
If governmental goals are to be met, then companies at all levels need to respond to the rising tide of personal environmental responsibility. Business cycles are short so organisations favour quicker returns that are out of line with lengthier sustainability timelines. The emergence of Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) is perhaps a way to align business investment and strategies closer to sustainability and thus promote greener options.
Typically, looking at 10+ years, S-ROI has been applied in the industrial sector to good effect. Embedding this mentality in business travel service provision could raise the attractiveness of pushing green investments and encouraging travellers to use them.
Many of the raw ingredients for success exist: receptive business travellers, new eco-technologies, business and investments models that enable transformation.
The sector needs momentum to get to the tipping point whereby the traveller’s desire to make the right choice is automatically enabled.
While progress towards achieving the government’s 2050 target to reduce CO2 emissions to 80% of those of 1990 is generally positive, the current trend is for emissions from transport and building stock to rise. The business travel sector has a direct impact on these two sources and thus has a responsibility to help turn that trend back towards a more positive environmental future by making eco-choices the default choices.
TMCS have a vital role to play if 'green' travel suppliers are to prosper. So far the industry has been slow to meet customer demand, says Roger Gardner Are companies and TMCS caught up in a tussle between the bottom line and driving responsible practice?”