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News » Companies prioritize eco-friendly business travel to meet ESG goals

Companies prioritize eco-friendly business travel to meet ESG goals

Photo from LoopUp

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES — Companies are doubling down on eco-friendly business travel practices as sustainability becomes a critical factor for securing corporate contracts and attracting top talent.

Integrating green initiatives into travel programs shifted from a luxury to an essential requirement. 

At the forefront of this shift is Contentsquare, a digital experience analytics company that mandates train travel for employee trips under four hours. This decision is part of a broader initiative to significantly reduce the company’s carbon footprint, which had been notably impacted by travel across its 15-country operation.

“When it comes to a certain level of business with clients, when they are doing their own carbon assessment in their Scope 3, the more we are lean in terms of CO2, the better we are categorized when we want to get a new contract,” said Guilhem Isaac Georges, VP of Sustainability at Contentsquare. 

“With some significant companies in Europe, it’s beginning to be a real criteria of selection. That’s very important for business.”

A Deloitte survey shows that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns drive abandoned deals and premiums in mergers and acquisitions, while around 45% of young workers have already quit a job or plan to do so over climate concerns.

Overcoming hurdles in sustainable travel adoption

“It’s having the right tools that enable travelers to make choices when they’re booking their travel that help support their companies and their travel program’s sustainability efforts,” said Jen Bankard, Senior director of content solutions and conferences at travel publisher BTN Group. 

“It’s still hard to get all of the really important and needed information integrated into the point of booking.”

Bankard notes the challenge of distinguishing authentic sustainability practices from greenwashing marketing ploys. Curating approved hotel lists and providing carbon footprint comparisons can guide employees’ choices.

For companies like Contentsquare, which joined the Climate Pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, the extra effort is crucial. 

“When it comes to really reducing your carbon footprint, at some point, you need to tackle your main sources,” said Isaac Georges. “Travel is the main one for us.”

Embracing innovative solutions

Travel management experts recommend consolidating multiple trips to the same destination into extended stays to reduce emissions from frequent flying.

“A company’s travel output can be their number one emissions driver,” said Andy Sison from Good Travel Management. 

“Some of our client partners may have traveled seven or eight times a year between New York and the U.K. just for one traveler. Practicing elongated trips means they’re just traveling once to that destination and they save from a cost point of view but also help the environment.”

However, Sison cautions that sustainable travel adoption requires education and buy-in from all stakeholders.

While the U.S. lags behind Europe in sustainable travel, Bankard encourages incremental progress. “Making little incremental steps can make a difference and try to focus on that,” she advises.

As clients and employees increasingly prioritize eco-consciousness, companies are recognizing the business imperative of reducing their travel carbon footprint through strategic planning and innovative solutions.

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