Business travel is making a comeback: interview with Susanna Peretti from BTM

Business travel sustainability is a legal obligation for large companies

The business travel sustainability emerges in a joint search by Travel for business e Alma Travel, Tmc on the market since 1972 which today has 70% of its turnover in BT. A market that still sees some gaps in terms of knowledge of environmental legislationimplemented above all with the Cingolani and Giovannini decree on the mobility manager.

Going in order: together with Travel for business Research division, Alma Travel conducted the study “Business travel, models for environmental and social sustainability“.

A research that touches on one of the hottest and most current topics for the sector. That is that environmental sustainability for which the company was one of the first travel management company certificate ISO 9001 ed ISO 14001.

«Today we are the first agency in Italy ESG certified with A rating»Explains the senior business travel consultant Riccardo Gabriele Ricci. “The analysis helped us to understand what companies think about sustainability and how we can help them to embark on a virtuous path”.

Read more about Alma Travel’s environmental sustainability policy

The sustainability of business travel in Alma Travel research

The sustainability of business travel has therefore passed under the lens of Alma Travel.

The survey interviewed a panel of about 350 people who deal with business travel and corporate mobility. So as to take a clear picture of the state of the art of Italian companies on travel management green.

Objective: to evaluate and identify the actions that the travel industry could implement in support of travel managers. The companies surveyed have these characteristics:

  • Up to 100 employees: 28.6%
  • From 101 to 500: 14.3%
  • From 501 to 1500: 32.1%
  • Over 1,501 employees: 25%

The first question: “How important do you think it is for a company or organization to be able to identify and communicate its significant impacts on the economy, the environment and / or society?”. 78.57% of respondents replied “very important”.

Second theme: “How important is the sustainability of business travel?” It turned out that for 57.14% the topic is very important, for 35.71% important and only for 7.14% “enough and nothing”.

Therefore, most of the interviewees have the sustainability of travel at heart. An excellent starting point, followed by a deepening on what could be the impact of sustainability as a goal of corporate travel planning and management.

Business travel sustainability

Companies willing (in words) to travel green

When asked if they would be willing to change the travel habits if a more sustainable solution is proposed, 75% of the interviewees respond in the affirmative. However, it is important to understand what criteria they are used for choose suppliers of business trips.

Although companies say that travel sustainability is very important (57.1% of respondents), there are other relevant points in the choosing a travel provider. Which? The quality of the service (64.29%) and the price (50%). The attention to sustainability is equal to 25%.

Il travel cost however, it still remains one of the primary selection criteria at the booking stage. The security is in second place, with almost 43%. Selecting an environmentally friendly trip is though in fourth position with 25%.

«The word sustainability is pronounced more and more often. But still many have not understood its true meaning »affirms Riccardo Gabriele Ricci.

There is also a false myth to dispel. Regarding the prezzo, sometimes a sustainable company is perceived as elitist, which sells high value-added services at a higher rate than the market.

«This is the first false myth to dispel: sustainability is one choice to respect the environmentpeople and careful management of finances. It does not represent a greater cost supplying electricity only from renewable sources. It is not a greater cost to decide to reduce paper consumption in favor of digitization. Nor is it a greater cost to allocate part of the profits to projects that can help people or the environment ”.

ESG environmental certification

“It all comes down to just one choice. I don’t sell my services at a higher price because I have an ESG certification, but I let my customers know that they too can make the choice of having a sustainable supplier ».

What is the Esg certification? It rating Environmental, social and governance it is the result of an evaluation carried out on the company system. Taking into account the activities and measures adopted on the subject environmental, social e you management.

Returning to research, the key question is also this: would companies be willing to pay more for a travel service if it were more ecological? Respondents appear to have doubts about the real sustainability commitment of travel suppliers.

In fact, a very high percentage (82.14%) declared themselves willing to pay more, but in the face of verified guarantees, by the supplier.

At the Business Travel Show 2021: sustainability in BT

Before going on a business trip: evaluations

A question in the Business Travel Sustainability Survey was about what the people involved value before embarking on a business trip.

It was found that 18% make apreventive analysis to understand whether to replace the trip with a virtual meeting.

25% focus on business goals, however evaluating the risks of the destination. Almost 30% of the journey is worth it only if it is essential. While there is once again a lack of attention to ecological impacts: the company business in general prevails.

The second chapter of the survey wanted to analyze the ways in which companies manage green goals and sustainable. The first question is whether the company has implemented measures for the sustainable management of business travel.

The answers? Il 60% has not adopted any precautions to manage, organize the business trips from a sustainable perspective. There is however and 20% which produces a periodic report informing travelers of their sustainable footprint.

Similar percentage (19%) for those who introduced guidelines and indications on more virtuous behaviors to keep while traveling. Only 9% have introduced a information to raise awareness i corporate travelers. Finally, 8% first selected and subsequently entered i supplier which offer a low environmental impact in the travel program.

Business travel sustainability
Alma Travel staff: the first on the right is Riccardo Gabriele Ricci

44% of companies do not have a travel policy with green parameters

However, sustainability is not at the heart of corporate travel planning to the point of drafting one Green Travel Policy.

It follows that 44% do not have a similar policy with parametri green not even in the form of an appendix.

What stands in the way of its introduction?

For almost 48% it is a question of form of mind. That is, it is missing a culture for the management of sustainable travel. For 43.48% there is the fear of higher purchase costs.

For 30.43%, the lack of incentive. In other words: the traveling staff are not sufficiently involved or incentivized on these matters.

Subsequently, they account for 30% of the poor skills specific internal companies on the subject of sustainable business travel, while for 13.04% the difficulty in obtaining information by travel service providers. To conclude, the difficulty in finding technical-legislative information and specific services weighs for 12% of the interviewees.

“I think we really have a long way to go on this point,” said Gabriele Ricci laconically.

London Business Travel Show: event in attendance confirmed

The lack of general travel purchase policies

That’s not all: 32% say that there is not one in the company general purchasing policy that favors sustainability. For 28% there is, but only for some strategic suppliers. And only 20% have a careful purchasing process in this direction.

However, when there is a purchasing policy that also takes into account the aspects of sustainability in business travel, this is mainly concentrated in selection of hotel structures (35.9%). For other services such as airplanes and mobility, attention is less (18.3%). Only for 9.2% concerns the travel agency selection.

Fortunately, the intentions on the part of companies about the future goals of introducing them into purchases are good green practices for travel management. However, it does not appear to be a priority for 2021. 47.4% have indicated their intention to take action in this regard.

To date, few companies (28%) are able to quantify with a reporting the value of CO2 emissions for business trips. As many as 60% declare, in fact, not to do so.

The brakes in compiling a report of CO2 emissions in the BT

  • For 45.83%, the availability of certain and complete information to carry out the analyzes
  • For 25% of companies, it appears not to be a priority
  • For 16.67%, the lack of automatic systems to obtain CO2 emissions data for the various travel services
  • For 8.3%, service providers fail to provide relevant data and information
  • For 4.17%, low confidence: they do not completely trust the information they receive

To date only 4% offsets CO2 emissions while 45% of respondents are not aware of compensation practices.

The panel of companies responding to the survey shows that 57% have over 500 employees. “So they have businesses the obligation, together with the annual budget, to present the sustainability report“. But only one in 4 of these simulations draws up an environmental report.

“This is another indicator of how poor ESG knowledge still is. With the possibility of being sanctioned. But if I don’t involve mine employees in such an important project how can I define myself ESG? If I want to engage in the social aspects, first of all I have to be careful with well-being of my employees», Reflects the manager of Alma Travel.

The importance of governance in the sustainability of business travel

The research on the sustainability of business travel also wanted to explore the management of social sustainability.

“The governance is the basis of every healthy company, which in order to remain so will have to produce profits. Then you will have to choose how to allocate part of those profits to the company ».

  • Over 70% of respondents state that the issue of corporate social sustainability is “very important or important”
  • Going into the details of which initiatives they have already put into practice, 60.87% concerns working well-being
  • 56.52% safety on business trips
  • 56.5% hires staff in difficult conditions
  • 43.48% the collective well-being
  • 34.78% the well-being of private life

What does Alma Travel do with its customers?

«We send our companies a report with co2 emissions, asking to offset them. But that’s not all: we develop partnerships with them to finance social projects or we select suppliers based on theirs policy environmental. For example, we evaluate if the electricity supplier produces only from renewable sources and if the company vehicles are hybrid or electric ».

He concludes: «When a company bids for air ticketing, it does not ask for environmental certifications: we have structured ourselves to give advice in this regard. We have an agreement with ZeroCO2 and we can certify the sustainable footprint at the end of the year ».

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