Sustainability is taking on a more prominent role for various industries, it is now more than just a buzzword going around, especially in a time where returning to “normal” may not be an option anymore.
Across all industries, 62% of executives consider sustainability strategies a necessity in order to be competitive today, and another 22% think this will be the case in the near future.
For the many businesses looking into creating more positive sustainable impacts, business travel is often a priority on that list.
However, because of the importance of business travel to the business’ growth and success, the company cannot do away with it simply because it is unsustainable.
Therefore, seeking solutions for the business to travel and achieve business goals while meeting sustainability targets at the same time is the future most businesses are looking at.
“There is just something about that face to face contact”.
Unfortunately, while many businesses have the desire to becoming more sustainable, the lack of (comprehensive) company travel policy and the lack of how-to knowledge in sustainability are major challenges for businesses to overcome.
As the world’s only B Corp certified Travel Management Company, Reho TraveI was approached by Van Hall Larenstein University (Netherlands) to collaborate on researching and developing Sustainable Travel Guidelines (STGs) as a solution to help businesses overcome those challenges.
The document was prepared by Eason Huang as part of his
thesis research project in his final year of ‘International Development Management’.
The STGs is a consolidated list of various sustainable travel practices that businesses can utilise by selecting the different recommended sustainable practices, enabling businesses to curate their own company travel policy with the basis of Social, Environmental and Financial sustainability.
Having a company travel policy developed with the focus on sustainability over the traditional cost-saving basis will allow businesses to position themselves with a positive edge for the future.
“Employees now are asking more of the company they work for. They want to work for a company that has purpose, they’re asking what charities you support?”
With the inevitable, expanding significance of sustainability, the impacts of business travel had been put into question, particularly now with the private sector becoming the driver of global sustainable development.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, where very little business travel is happening, the private sector has had the chance to put business travel under the microscope to re-examine the necessity of it and its new role within the unknown post-pandemic future, due to the unsustainable nature of traveling and the obsessive culture of face-to-face contact in business.
As a response to meet that eventual rise of demand in sustainable business travel, the experiences of companies interviewed combined with the literatures studied concluded seventy-one sustainable travel practices across the entire business travel process that companies can adopt to contribute towards environmental, social or economic sustainability in some ways.
The study of this document began in February 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has affected the relevancy of this document at this moment in time given the limited travel volume. However, respondents indicated that they remain hopeful and confident that business travel will eventually return.
Therefore, this document should still be able to provide adequate guidance to empower companies with the ability to adjust the travel process to reduce their own impact to become more sustainable and therefore, contribute towards global sustainable development.
Businesses have sought for an effective solution to conduct operations without the necessity to travel, with virtual alternatives being the clear fit for it.
While virtual alternatives have been helpful in many aspects of the operations, businesses have yet to find a solution to replace the benefits brought by business travel beyond being the alternative for communications, because, interestingly, many still see business travel playing an important role in the post-pandemic era, according to Reho Travel’s existing and prospective corporate clients.
“You definitely get more done by being there. You can have all the phone calls you like but actually by being on the ground and seeing it and spending time with the people and having dinner with them and It does help. Absolutely helps.”
Emma & Toms
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