Research shows that business trips are popular again, but not immediately more environmentally friendly

Business travel is gaining popularity again, according to SAP affiliate Concur’s 2022 Corporate Travel Sustainability Index. For the new index, SAP Concur interviewed 700 managers across Europe, including Benelux. With us, eight out of ten companies (85 percent) are traveling domestically again, and half (51 percent) are planning international business trips again. This is lower than in other countries. Although almost all organizations (97%) want to travel sustainably, greener business trips remain a challenge for the majority of people surveyed.

Only 28% of organizations in the Benelux have appointed a Sustainability Manager, not to mention an entire team (only 8%) that is specifically concerned with improving sustainability internally – including business travel. However, sustainability is becoming a top priority for an increasing number of decision makers, particularly in light of the United Nations climate goals.

In the Benelux countries, this translates to energy savings (57%), less plastic (47%) and lower carbon dioxide emissions (41%). However, the research shows that it is difficult for organizations to turn those ambitions into active policy, including reporting.

The environmental policy of travel suppliers is no more important than the possibility of leisure at work

For example, only 36% have tools that provide more insight into carbon emissions from travel and thus map their impact on climate. Less than half (47%) first investigate the environmental policies of their suppliers, such as hotels, car rental companies or airlines. Surprisingly, for businesses in our region, “commercial leisure” (travel where work and leisure intertwine or follow one another) is just as important as the sustainability of suppliers.

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However, just under seventy percent say they want to make their travel policy more sustainable, but also struggle with the internal processes to make it happen. For a third (32%) of managers surveyed, budget is the main obstacle to greener business travel. And 38% suffer from a lack of participation by their employees.

Many UK companies have business trip planning software twice as much

For Pierre-Emmanuel Titaz, Senior Vice President EMEA and General Manager, SAP Concur, it is imperative that organizations rethink their policies: “As the demand for sustainability increases, more and more organizations – from management and employees to their partners – will have to reduce the impact of Business travel Measure and take Slightly less than 4 in 10 (38%) say they want to improve their approach, but don’t know how. It is therefore imperative that companies form sustainability teams, and support their traveling employees with the right tools to make more choices. environmentally friendly.”

Just under a third (29%) of companies in Benelux already have programs they can support on their business trips. This is half the leader in the UK at 60%. Among organizations without a tool, at least 83% said they were considering it.

The SAP Concur Sustainability Survey was conducted among 700 policy makers who are involved in organizing business trips within their company. All companies surveyed have at least 100 employees. The study was conducted in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland) and Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) by iResearch commissioned by SAP Concur between February and March 2022.

Megan Vasquez

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